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High Court okays Kwese TV operations

Kwese TV CEO Joseph Hundah
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ECONET Media Mauritius will now distribute its Kwese TV satellite content to the Zimbabwean viewership without any glitches after the High Court granted the application by the company’s business partner Dr Dish (Pvt) Ltd.

Dr Dish early September won its High Court case against the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the judge suspended an earlier decision by the authority to cancel its content distribution licence. The court allowed the firm to enjoy full rights and benefits of its licence.

The judgment specifically allowed Dr Dish and its partner Econet Media Mauritius to distribute the satellite content to the masses, pending finalisation of the licence dispute pitting Dr Dish and BAZ. BAZ approached the Supreme Court with an appeal against the High Court judgment.

While the Supreme Court appeal was pending, Dr Dish was last week back at the High Court with a fresh application for leave to offer its service to the masses pending determination of the appeal. Justice Charles Hungwe heard arguments from both sides in the matter and ruled in favour of Dr Dish. In a judgment availed yesterday, Justice Hungwe ruled that BAZ’s prospects of success on appeal were next to none.

“There is no basis for the view that an appeal court, applying its mind to the issues to be considered would come to a different conclusion. I must say that one must always accept that an appellate court may be persuaded to a different conclusion on any finding by this court. While there is that possibility, it seems to me that in the present case, that possibility is a bit remote.

“I do not wish to second-guess the appellate court’s final decision, but it occurs to me that the respondent lodged the appeal for some indirect purpose. The respondents’ prospects of success are minimal,” he said. Justice Hungwe found that Dr Dish had satisfied the requirements for the grant of leave to proceed with its operations.

“In the result, I make the following order:

1. Leave to proceed in terms of the judgment of this court in case number HH-598 /17 be and is hereby granted.

2. The respondents (BAZ) shall bear costs of this application.”

Dr Dish partnered Econet Media Mauritius with a view to distribute Kwese TV content. Before the launch of the product, BAZ wrote a letter purporting to cancel Dr Dish’s licence on the basis that it had not formally applied for the amendment of its licence to provide Kwese TV channels. The matter spilled into the High Court, with Dr Dish challenging the cancellation of the licence.