By Alois Vinga
HIGH Court judge, Justice Happias Zhou has ordered the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) to suspend the 2020 accreditation process until it completes its consultation with the Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC).
In granting the order sought by ZOCC, represented by lawyer Chris Mhike, the court said accreditation for 2020 may only proceed after completion of ongoing consultations with the applicant (ZOCC) and other relevant stakeholders.
Justice Zhou said the ZMC should also not proceed with the implementation of its proposed new categories for accreditation.
The ruling comes when the ZMC had completed almost 50% of the accreditation process after registering journalists from the State and private media.
ZOCC filed an urgent chamber application on 25 May 2020 seeking an order for the suspension of the accreditation process which commenced in Harare on 26 May 2020.
In its application, ZOCC said the matter was urgent because the new ZMC accreditation process was not provided for in the country’s law.
“Accreditation may proceed after the completion of the ongoing consultations with the applicant (ZOCC) and other relevant stakeholders,” ZOCC said in its application.
ZOCC also appealed for the High Court’s timely intervention in protecting the media at large and the applicant in particular.
“Considering the respondent’s determination to go ahead with a flawed accreditation process even after efforts by the industry at resolving the matter amicably, it seems clear now, that the only other remedy that is available to the applicant is the intervention of this honourable court on an urgent basis,” reads part of the application before Justice Zhou granted the appeal.