by Xolisani Ncube
African Commission on Human and People’s Rights chairperson, Pansy Tlakula has offered technical support to MPs, as they craft laws to facilitate access of information and protection of journalists in line with provision of the new Constitution.
Addressing a Press briefing after her four-day visit to Harare on an advocacy mission for easy access to information and media services, Tlakula said her office was ready to capacitate MPs to enable them to craft laws that conform to international standards.
“I extended an offer of technical assistance to Parliament if needed, with the development or amendment of any freedom of expression or access to information legislation to ensure compliance with the Constitution and other international and regional standards,” she said.
Tlakula met with various stakeholders, among them Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, MPs and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission members, where she raised concerns about information access and media freedom.
Other issues discussed include the means of ensuring that the ongoing digitisation process does not put information access beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabweans and the implementation of the recommendation of the Information Media Panel of Inquiry report.
The special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information in Africa also met with the chairperson of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe, Ozias Bvute. The two discussed the role of the telecoms regulator in ensuring the enjoyment of the right of access to information through various forms of technology.
Tlakula, however, failed to meet Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Chris Mushohwe. But she had already engaged him in February this year following the decision of the Constitutional Court to declare criminal defamation unconstitutional.
Source : The NewsDay, Zimbabwe