Zimbabwe’s Judiciary To Start Livestreaming of Court Proceedings

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has moved to adopt live streaming of court proceedings in a development that is set to improve transparency and accountability in the administration of justice.

Officially opening the 2020 legal year, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the live streaming of court proceedings would improve the public trust and debunk myths that courts are mysterious.

“This trajectory is intended to foster public trust and confidence in the court system by debunking the myth that court proceedings are esoteric and that courts want to mask their decisions,” said Malaba.

According to him, the live-streaming of the presidential election petition in 2018 informed this decision. In addition, the development is important for the country as it will help promote openness and accountability as the members of the public will be aware of court proceedings.

“The most-watched court case that was streamed live in recent times was the August 2018 election petition by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and Zanu-PF. The case was unanimously thrown out by all nine Constitutional Court judges for lack of evidence,” stated Malaba.

Malaba added that the court proceedings in cases that are of public and national interest, as well as cases that affect the interests of a large section of society, would be live-streamed as they will promote public trust and confidence in the court system.

Many countries in other parts of the world permit various recordings in different courts. In Canada, the hearings inside the Canadian Supreme Court are on broadcast in the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel (CPAC). In India, the Supreme Court and High Court’s hearings are live-streamed. The United Kingdom allows live-streaming of the Supreme Court proceedings, which are available on the court’s official website. In New Zealand, the proceedings are not live-streamed but recorded.

In Africa, only South Africa allows live-streaming of the Supreme Court and Lower Court hearings. In 2019, the Supreme Court stated that the court could grant the media access to the courtrooms for the purpose of recording and broadcasting the proceedings on the permission of the presiding judge.

In Nigeria, the court doesn’t permit live-streaming of its proceedings. The general public, lawyers, and media are expected to drop their phones at the reception on entering the courtroom.

 

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