The Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC), has filed an urgent chamber application challenging the newly accreditation procedure by the local media regulator, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
The new regulations would see accreditation criteria altered and split into different categories, some of which would disadvantage online content creators as they would fail to access certain state events.
According to ZOCC the new changes are discriminatory and infringe on the rights of media practitioners.
ZOCC president Toneo Rutsito said that the move by the ZMC is illegal and is likely to be abused to the disadvantage of various online content creators, on whose behalf the court action is being made.
“ZMC is only empowered to accredit local and foreign journalists according to Statutory Instrument 169C of 2002, the introductions of other categories are in violation of section 61 and 62 of the Zimbabwe constitution; needless to say, if this goes unchallenged, the ZOCC members will be discriminated and denied access from state events on the basis of ID colour”, Rutsito said.
“This can not be allowed to go unchallenged as our members are already being denied access to certain state events on borderline frivolous grounds,” he continued
“ZOCC strongly believes in the freedom of media and upholding of ethical, credible and balanced journalism, as cornerstone values that build and strengthen the media society. ”
ZOCC is a voluntary association of Online Content Creators comprised of bloggers, vloggers, animators, graphics players amongst others who predominantly publish their creativity on the Internet.
Zim Morning Post Publisher Elias Mambo also said his media organisation strongly supports the move by Zocc to drag ZMC to court.
“We are a member of ZOCC and we fully support the move to challenge ZMC,” Mambo said.
“It defeats the whole purpose of media freedom when the regulator wants to discriminate based on identification colour.
“This punches huge holes in the new dispensation mantra of respecting the constitution. We believe our courts are capable of giving sound judgments so we expect fairness to prevail so that such achaic regulations are dropped,” Mambo said.