MISA Zimbabwe raps slow reforms

Minister of Information Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira - Pic : Twitter @SupaCollinsMandiwanzira

Minister of Information Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira – Pic : Twitter @SupaCollinsMandiwanzira

A top media rights lobby has lamented the continued failure by government to reform the country’s media laws some three years after the 2013 enactment of the country’s new Constitution.

In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day celebrated every 3rd of May, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA- Zimbabwe) said it was disappointed by government’s “pseudo democratisation”.

The day also coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration.

The new charter outlawed old repressive media statutes which include some sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Official Secrets Act, OSA the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), and the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, CECA.

But government continues to use these old and banal media laws to stifle media freedom.

“Against this backdrop,” MISA said, “authorities continue to use the discredited AIPPA, to license and regulate the media, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to broadly embargo information held by public bodies and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), to hinder free establishment of radio stations.

“The Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act (CECA), also continues to be used to censor free artistic expression; the CODE to criminalise media work and citizens’ right to free expression.”

Early this year, government promised to invite media stakeholders to find ways with which it could operationalise some of the recommendations of the 2015 Information and Media Panel of Enquiry.

MISA said the delays in calling for the meeting were clear indications government was not interested in seeing positive changes in the media.

MISA called on government to “urgently implement law reforms to entrench constitutional democracy and retain foreign direct investment critical to halting the worsening economic crisis that has negatively affected media operations”.

“…Refrain from threatening the media as that has potential to trigger extra¬legal violation of media freedom by political activists and other non¬state actors,” said the media group.

“…Ensure citizen participation in the transparent and democratic appointment process for the ZBC board, while securing and guaranteeing its independence and accountability in carrying out its public service mandate.”

Government, through the Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira last month threatened to ban the use of social media for “posing security threats”.
Mandiwanzira made a u¬turn in Bulawayo last week saying he was being pressurised by some telecommunications companies which wanted government to control the proliferation of social media which was threatening pushing them out of business.

But in its statement, MISA said the Zanu PF official, also a former journalist, was in fact trying to further curtail media freedom.
rights lobby has lamented the continued failure by government to reform the country’s media laws some three years after the 2013 enactment of the country’s new Constitution.

In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day celebrated every 3rd of May, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zimbabwe said it was disappointed by government’s “pseudo democratisation”.

The day also coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration.

The new charter outlawed old repressive media statutes which include some sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Official Secrets Act, OSA the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), and the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, CECA.

But government continues to use these old and banal media laws to stifle media freedom.

“Against this backdrop,” MISA said, “authorities continue to use the discredited AIPPA, to license and regulate the media, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to broadly embargo information held by public bodies and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), to hinder free establishment of radio stations.

“The Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act (CECA), also continues to be used to censor free artistic expression; the CODE to criminalise media work and citizens’ right to free expression.”

Early this year, government promised to invite media stakeholders to find ways with which it could operationalise some of the recommendations of the 2015 Information and Media Panel of Enquiry.

MISA said the delays in calling for the meeting were clear indications government was not interested in seeing positive changes in the media.

MISA called on government to “urgently implement law reforms to entrench constitutional democracy and retain foreign direct investment critical to halting the worsening economic crisis that has negatively affected media operations”.

“…Refrain from threatening the media as that has potential to trigger extra­legal violation of media freedom by political activists and other non­state actors,” said the media group.

“…Ensure citizen participation in the transparent and democratic appointment process for the ZBC board, while securing and guaranteeing its independence and accountability in carrying out its public service mandate.”

Government, through the Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira last month threatened to ban the use of social media for “posing security threats”.

Mandiwanzira made a u­turn in Bulawayo last week saying he was being pressurised by some telecommunications companies which wanted government to control the proliferation of social media which was threatening pushing them out of business.

But in its statement, MISA said the Zanu PF official, also a former journalist, was in fact trying to further curtail media freedom.

Source : NewZimbabwe.com

 

Share