Review repressive media laws: Misa

via Review repressive media laws: Misa – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 12, 2015

ZIMBABWE still lags behind other Sadc member states in reviewing oppressive media legislation with countries such as Mozambique and Malawi now regarded as champions of media freedom, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) has said.

In a statement, Misa said media laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) did not pass the constitutional test or meet regional benchmarks that Zimbabwe was signatory to.

Mozambique’s Parliament passed its Access to Information Bill, which among other progressive clauses, compels public and private bodies to allow journalists access to information that is in the public’s interest, and in the same year Malawi adopted an Access to Information (ATI) policy which provides a framework for enacting and implementing the ATI Bill that demonstrates commitment and willingness to domesticate regional and continental instruments that the countries are signatory or state parties to,” Misa said.

“As current chair of both Sadc and African Union, this poses a serious indictment on Zimbabwe to demonstrate exemplary leadership in that regard,” the regional media body said in reference to Presidential Robert Mugabe’s dual chairmanship of Sadc and AU.

Misa said Zimbabwe still had a raft of repressive media laws such as AIPPA, the Broadcasting Services Act, Interception of Communications Act, Official Secrets Act, and criminal defamation, among others.

“The long and short of it is that there should be urgency on legislative reform. Otherwise the country risks being accused of paying lip service to the enjoyment and entrenchment of fundamental human rights as stipulated in the Constitution,” Misa said.