Media violations and victories

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services in Harare on 18 February 2016, Charamba, said AIPPA and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), were two pieces of legislation administered by his ministry that needed review under the new constitutional dispensation.

Earlier, he made similar remarks when he met the MISA delegation in September 2015 in his office.

And as a follow up to his observation, Charamba's ministry has since identified BSA and AIPPA for review by the inter-ministerial committee on laws realignment led by the Ministry of Justice, though it is still to submit texts for the proposed reforms.   

All this dovetails with earlier findings and recommendations of the government-sanctioned Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI), which was led by Charamba's ministry.

Among other key findings, IMPI states:  “AIPPA should be repealed and replaced with a law that specifically provides for access to information with ample provision for protecting this right, including its expansion to information held by non-public bodies as envisaged in Section 61 of the Constitution, while media regulation issues are provided for under a separate law.”

MISA Stance:

These attempts at deflecting attention from government's neglect of its legislative obligations by chastising civil society will not take away legitimate demands for democratic legislation by Zimbabweans. These have been expressed in various position papers that civil society, including MISA Zimbabwe, has submitted to government and its law making arms.

That laws such as AIPPA must be scrapped is no longer in question following the adoption of the 2013 Constitution.

It is time government stops prevaricating and honestly engages citizens, the media and civil society to urgently formulate an inclusive, democratic and representative media legislative framework and an access to information regime.