SABC Airs Chamisa's Electoral Campaign Documentary After Its Ban In Zimbabwe4 months ago
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) recently aired the documentary “President,” which details opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa‘s 2018 electoral campaign trail.
The documentary was banned in Zimbabwe last year by the ZANU PF government on the basis that it had the potential to incite violence as the country heads for another round of elections.
Censorship and Entertainment Control Unit deputy director Oscar Mugomeri cited the Censorship and Entertainments Control Act, which states that films or film advertisements contrary to public order should not be approved.
The documentary, directed by Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson, is a sequel to her 2013 documentary “Democrats,” which chronicled the construction of Zimbabwe’s constitution.
Despite the ban, the documentary was aired on SABC 3 on Monday night and quickly went viral on various social media platforms. The film’s release has reignited debates about freedom of expression in Zimbabwe and the role of the Censorship Board in regulating media content.
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Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza responded to the controversy by stating that the film did not meet the standards to be broadcast in the mainstream media in Zimbabwe, but that its release on social media was beyond the control of the Censorship Board. He emphasized that Zimbabwe is a free country that guarantees freedom of expression under the constitution.
The airing of “President” highlights the tension between the government’s desire to regulate media content and the public’s demand for transparency and accountability.
Zimbabwe is preparing to hold harmonised elections in August this year and Chamisa is set to face President Mnangagwa who narrowly defeated him in a contested 2018 election.