Democrats Ban Lifted in Zimbabwe

This text is taken from the newsletter that came out some days ago from Doc Society with the headline “Victory for Freedom of Speech in Zimbabwe”:

We’ve just heard great news that in a groundbreaking court order, Zimbabwean High Court Judge Justice Muremba has lifted the ban on the internationally acclaimed documentary Democrats . The award-winning film chronicles Zimbabwe’s writing of its first democratic constitution during 2010-2013. In the photo is Democrats director Camilla Nielsson with Chris Mhike, from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and MP Brian Chuma.
Bertha grantee and Good Pitch Europe alumni Camilla Nielsson had full access to the political process behind the 2013 constitution-making, led by a Parliamentary Constitutional Committee. After her resulting film, Democrats, was released in 2014, it toured the world to win more than 30 international awards for its honest fly-on-the wall account of how Zimbabweans from across the political divide worked together to produce a progressive democratic constitution. The New York Times called the film “Outstanding, urgent, vivid. Finally a film that deserves to be called necessary.” Zimbabweans, however, were not allowed to see the film as the Censorship Board banned it as “Not suitable for public viewing.”

The case was argued by human rights lawyer Bellinda Chinowawa, who called the High Court order: “A great victory for all Zimbabweans” which will assist in expanding media freedom in Zimbabwe – as intended in the Constitution. Camilla Nielsson said: “After a 3-year delay, we can now finally distribute the film in the country where it was made.”

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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