Media violations and victories

Three years after the adoption of the constitution and subsequently two years thereafter to the launch of the IMPI report, no tangible action has been taken to review the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Interception of Communications Act, Official Secrets Act, Posts and Telecommunications Act, among others. These acts continue to pose serious threats to media freedom and freedom of expression. The Constitution categorically and explicitly enjoins authorities to allow for media freedom which denotes the freedom to independently determine the editorial thrust of their publications. This includes state-controlled outlets, both print and broadcasting entities.

MISA Stance:

MISA-Zimbabwe therefore urges the government to:

Urgently align the media legislative framework with the Constitution. Give due consideration to recommendations of the IMPI report, as enunciated by civil society at the April 2016 Media Law Reform Indaba in undertaking the envisaged media law and policy reforms. Refrain from using reckless and threatening remarks against the media as that has potential to trigger extra-legal violation of media freedom by political activists and other non-state actors. Initiate a much more structured digitisation public awareness campaign to ensure citizens know what exactly is at stake including benefits of digital migration. Genuinely liberalise the airwaves as a catalyst for establishing a vibrant local content production and arts industry. ! Ensure citizen participation in the transformation of ZBC into a true public service broadcaster. Create a safe working environment for the media and provide leadership within and outside government in raising awareness on the need to ensure the safety of journalists and media workers. Address the sustainability challenges within the media industry by reviewing the multiple tax regimes affecting the media in order to facilitate the viability of the media industry.