Globecast Satellite Acquitted

There was a dramatic end to the Globecast Satellite trial on 24 July 2008
when Harare Magistrate Archie Wochiunga refused to place the company on
further remand after the state had applied for a postponement of the matter.

Prosecutor Florence Ziyambi had applied to have the matter postponed arguing
that her witness had failed to turn up because of transport problems.

However, defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, opposed the application saying the
state had the obligation to bring its witnesses on time. Mtetwa said the
trial had proceeded painfully slowly as the prosecutor had chosen which
witnesses to call and when. She said the court could not be held at ransom
by a disorganised prosecution and urged the court to dismiss the

Magistrate Wochiunga dismissed the application for postponement and decided
to remove the accused company from remand. The effect of a removal from
remand of an accused who would have pleaded amounts to an acquittal of the

Globecast Satellite whose representative during the trial was Thabani Mpofu,
pleaded not guilty to charges of contravening Section 7 (1) as read with
Section 7 (4) and 7 (5) of Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) which outlaws the
provision of broadcasting services or operating a signal carrier without a

Mtetwa is currently working on an application for the release of the vehicle
belonging to Globecast.

MISA-Zimbabwe Position
MISA-Zimbabwe welcomes the acquittal of the company and reiterates its
position that the Broadcasting Services Act is unnecessarily repressive. It
is hoped that the current talks between Zimbabwe’s political leaders will
deal decisively with laws such as the BSA, Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act as well as the Public Order and Security Act with
the view of repealing them.

The case against Globecast stemmed from the broadcast of an interview by CNN
of Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information and Publicity Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on
27 March 2008. The uplink for the interview was dispatched by Globecast

The court heard evidence from six witnesses, among them, Cloud Nyamundanda
who is the acting Chief Executive Officer of Transmedia Corporation and
Obert Muganyura, the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe.

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