MISA Concerned At Omission Of Freedom Of Information Bill

President Mugabe who opened a new session of Parliament on Tuesday only talked about the Media Practitioners’ Bill, which will be among the 23 Bills that will be discussed in parliament.

The Media Practitioners Bill mooted at a media stakeholder conference last year, seeks to “repeal the part of the Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which deals with the registration of journalists and privacy issues”.

Former Deputy Information Minister Jameson Timba had earlier mentioned plans to replace AIPPA with this Bill together with the Freedom of Information Bill to try and ease the current stringent media regulations in the country.

“What is clear from his address is government’s reluctance to repeal AIPPA in its entirety as well as a raft of other repressive laws that continue to inhibit media freedom and Zimbabweans’ right to freedom of expression and access to information,” said Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe).” “The address also betrays the authorities desire to maintain controls and restrictions on media activity, which have been widely condemned as inimical to media freedom.”

MISA-Zimbabwe said only the repeal of AIPPA and other laws that eroded media freedom and their replacement with those compatible with the best practice in media regulation enshrined in regional and international instruments on freedom of expression will amount to genuine media reforms necessary for the democratic development of Zimbabwe.

AIPPA was enacted in 2002 to regulate media activity in the country.