Mnangagwa defends criminal defamation law

via Mnangagwa defends criminal defamation law – DailyNews Live by Chengetai Zvauya  10 APRIL 2014

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Justice minister, yesterday defended action that makes defamation a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of journalists.

Parliamentarians accused authorities of tightening curbs on free expression in the wake of corruption exposes.

Parliamentarians condemned the arrest of Daily News group editor Stanley Gama and senior writer Fungi Kwaramba under criminal defamation laws, saying the statute was now archaic and outdated.

Gama  and Kwaramba were arrested at the instigation  of  controversial businessman Kamal Khalfan over stories linking  the Omani tycoon  to alleged  underhand  deals in the country.

The arrest of the newsmen has been condemned by the media fraternity and other lawmakers.

Nelson Chamisa,  Kuwadzana East MDC legislator, yesterday quizzed Mnangagwa why the State continues to apply the law selectively. Wary of the chilling effect that these provisions have on a Press wishing to raise legitimate critical voices, he expressed concern that the continued use of criminal defamation would further erode the already limited space for free expression in the country.

“We have witnessed the continuous use of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Section 96 and we have realised the arrest of journalists from Daily News using this section.  When are we going to see the removal of this section which is criminalising the journalism profession? This must be stopped,” Chamisa said to rapturous applause from other legislators.

Mnangagwa defended the use of criminal defamation laws, insisting that the law was here to stay despite constitutional provisions outlawing it.

“We have the criminal defamation law which we shall continue to use as it is part of our law,” Mnangagwa said. “Journalists must learn to be accountable and responsible for their actions and must be answerable.  They can approach the Constitutional Court to have it struck down. Until they have done so, we shall continue to use it.

“These journalists expect government to be accountable without themselves being accountable and this is not the way we operate.” said Mnangagwa as a war of words between the minister and Chamisa over the matter ensued.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
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    “Mnangagwa Justice Minister” , how can we take anything he says seriously, Justice and Mnangagwa should never be used in the same breath, what a joke.

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    Indeed WD. The gukurahundist and Zanupf faction leader knows no values for justice as demonstrated by his love for arresting torturing, and murdering people.

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    apolitical 8 years ago

    It is gratifying that the Minister of Justice stands up for the people in keeping a law that protects the public from those who tell lies to make money out of destroying innocent peoples reputation.\If journalists print truth they have nothing to fear as it is only criminal defamation when you deliberately lie. The news media does this to sell newspapers for money- should they not have to compensate us the people and suffer personally for their lies.
    It astounds me that there are those who think that journalists or anyone should be allowed to lie about another as its freedom of expression in their twisted view.
    Here is an example of how it works, if someone who doesn’t like you spreads a rumour that you are having an affair and your marriage gets destroyed as a result – should that person not be prosecuted for destroying your families lives.
    Without doubt.
    If you are not a liar it doesn’t affect you – you have to look at those trying to get rid of this good law that protects us because they admit by extension that they are liars and cheats, the scum of the world that society doesn’t need.

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    Jono Austin 8 years ago

    Mnangagwa is the Government accountable? Who for example was held accountable over Gukurahundi and the corruption. Have they been held accountable for the disaster Zimbabwe faces? When they should be accountable as a last resort (elections) the Government cheats and intimidates. So don’t lie that the Government is accountable you fat buffoon

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    What Zanu pf considers journalism is a press that will be singing praises to anything they do. Anyone that holds office of trust will always be under scrutiny and if they cannot take the heat they should leave the kitchen. Munangagwa is just a powerful idiot that contradicts himself time and again. He, like all the devils in his group shall get their own. All this will not go unnoticed.

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    An unaccountable government will always make laws that ensure it’s never brought to account, comrade Mnangagwa. No surprises there.

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    Defamation must imply false or malicious. Now False I can go with, it should be criminalized I mean if it’s not true then its a crime yeah? but say for some reason I just do’nt like Emmerson Mnanagagwa and I wish to be malicious and say he was directly responsible with Sekeremayi and another, for Gukhuruhundi, would that be against the law?