Senegal: CPJ welcomes striking out of Criminal Defamation Laws in Zimbabwe

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has welcomed the Zimbabwe Supreme Constitutional Court striking out of the country's criminal defamation laws.

"The move is a welcome step towards safeguarding press freedom," a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Thursday said, adding that the Supreme Constitutional Court made the ruling on Wednesday 3 February.

The court's panel of nine judges, led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, ruled that all laws assigning criminal penalties to defamation contradicted guarantees of press freedom enshrined in Zimbabwe's constitution.

"This is an important victory for freedom of expression in Zimbabwe," remarked CPJ deputy Executive Director, Robert Mahoney. "The government has too often resorted to criminal defamation to muzzle independent journalists."

According to the statement, the ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by the Zimbabwean branch of the Media Institute of Southern Africa and four journalists - Nqaba Matshazi, Godwin Mangudya, Sydney Saize, and Rodger Stringer - who were said to have been individually arrested on charges of defaming politicians in 2011.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 4Feb2016

04 february 2016 11:50:24

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