ALLOW ALL INTERESTED JOURNALISTS TO COVER THE TREASON TRIAL – Chipenzi

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McDonald ChipenziMcDonald Chipenzi

PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 12, 2017

ALLOW ALL INTERESTED JOURNALISTS TO COVER THE TREASON TRIAL


The decision by the Judiciary to ban the use of all electronic
gadgets and restrict audience during the historic treason trial
of incarcerated United Party for National Development (UPND)
president Hakainde Hichilema and five others is extremely
unfortunate.


This decision is a recipe to inaccurate, partial, biased and
distorted reporting on the case and further, denies those
citizens who wanted to follow the court proceedings their
rights to hold the judges to account.

The judiciary should search its
legal soul and ask itself, as interpreters of the law, whether
or not such a decision is within the provisions of the supreme
law, it is a just decision and/or the decision promotes
accountability of the judiciary to the citizens.

Imperatively, the judiciary
should further interrogate its decision to see whether it is in
line with Article 20 (2) of the Constitution which instructs
that “a law shall not make any provision that derogates from
freedom of the press”

Therefore, the decision to
restrict access by Journalists to the trial room through the
use of draconian and discriminatory tactics of accreditation is
derogation from and an infringement on the freedom of the
press 

The judiciary must clearly
explain the main reasons for restricting the coverage of and
audience to this “must attend and cover” national and
international intriguing and crowd pulling case.

To this end, the judiciary
should, in addition, re-check its standing with Article 119(3)
of the Constitution which requires, “except as otherwise
provided in this constitution, other law or as ordered by the
court, that “the proceedings of a court shall be in
public.” 


It will be in the best interest of the judiciary and the
general public to allow, at least, all interested journalists
to attend and cover this important treason trial without any
restrictions so that the electorate and the general citizenry
who are keenly following this case are adequately informed and
civically educated.

McDonald Chipenzi
Electoral Expert

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