MULTICHOICE Zambia Limited has asked the Lusaka High Court to misjoin it from the matter where Prime Television has petitioned the court for an order quashing Information Minister Dora Siliya’s decision to cease all cooperation with the station.
It has argued that the relief sought by Prime Television that Multichoice cannot remove the station from its platform at the direction of government has been overtaken by events as the station’s broadcasting licence has already been cancelled.
In this matter, Prime TV, which has cited the Attorney General, Topstar Communications Company Limited and Multichoice Zambia Limited as respondents, is seeking an order declaring government’s decision to cease all transactions and business with it, unconstitutional.
Prime Television further wants an order that all media houses have the right to access and disseminate information from government without undue hinderances, as well as, compensation for loss of income and loss of business resulting from Topstar’s statement.
It also wants an order that Topstar Communications Company and Multichoice Zambia cannot remove it from their platforms at the direction of government.
But now, Multichoice wants to be struck out as a party from the proceedings on the basis that the relief sought by Prime TV against it, had been overtaken by events and that it would be an academic exercise for the court to consider the said relief.
In the skeleton arguments, Multichoice Zambia managing director Jacobus Bezuidenhout, argued that the court had jurisdiction to order misjoinder of a party and that the relief sought by Prime Television against Multichoice was water under the bridge.
“The petitioner (Prime TV’s) apprehension that the third respondent (Multichoice) would comply with the directive of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services has been overtaken by the fact that the petitioner’s license has been cancelled but more importantly, the petitioner itself ceased to carry out any broadcast. As a result we submit that the petitioner has no cause of action against the third respondent,” he submitted.
“Our courts would not hesitate to order a misjoinder where a party has no sufficient interest or locus standi in the subject matter of the action. Following the cessation of broadcasting by the petitioner, we submit that the third respondent has no sufficient interest in the proceedings to warrant its continued participation.”
And in an afidavit in support of summons for misjoinder, Bezuidenhout explained that on April 9, this year, the Independent Broadcasting Authority cancelled the broadcasting license of Prime Television and on the same date of cancellation of the license, the station ceased to continue with its broadcast.
He added that Prime Television subsequently appealed to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services against the decision of IBA but on April 23, 2020, ZNBC reported that the Minister had dismissed its appeal on grounds that the license had expired on March 29, 2020 prior to the purported cancellation by IBA on April 9.
Bezuidenhout stated that Prime Television was presently off air as it had not broadcasted since April 9, 2020.