Home 9 Featured 9 Zimbabwe Parliament applauded for robust debate on ZMC Bill

Zimbabwe Parliament applauded for robust debate on ZMC Bill

Zimbabwe Parliament, Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill
27 Sep, 2020
MISA Zimbabwe is encouraged by the robust and non-partisan debate in Parliament on 24 September 2020 on the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill.

MISA Zimbabwe is encouraged by the robust and non-partisan debate in Parliament on 24 September 2020 on the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill.

This is a positive and progressive step towards promoting democratic governance in Zimbabwe.

It is the constitutional role of Parliament to protect the Constitution and ensure the State and all institutions and agencies of government act constitutionally and in the national interest.

The Constitution, in defining the role of Parliament, further states that all institutions and agencies of the State and government at every level are accountable to Parliament.

This was displayed when parliamentarians from across the political divide pushed for media players to have a greater role in the regulation of the industry.

The parliamentarians were particularly incensed with a clause in the Bill allowing the police to assist in an investigation by a media regulatory body.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, had earlier said it was mandatory for the police to be involved. Minister Ziyambi was steering the Bill on behalf of the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa.

However, the parliamentarians, notably Honourables Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF) and Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance) stood their ground arguing that this was not the agreed position.

MP Paradza said the clause was retrogressive as it was previously provided for under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which has since been repealed.

MP Biti said the clause stifled media freedom and freedom of expression. He said defamation was not a criminal offence, and that in any case, criminal defamation was decriminalised by the courts.

Other contentious issues pertained to co-regulation of the media.

MP Paradza argued that the agreed position was that there should be co-regulation of the media which allows media players to play a critical role in the regulation of the industry

Minister Ziyambi subsequently conceded to removing the contentious clause (involving the police in investigations) and adjourned debate to allow for further consultations on how to deal with the issue pertaining to regulation of the media.

The arguments by the parliamentarians dovetail with the agreed positions by media stakeholders such as MISA Zimbabwe and the umbrella media body, the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe.

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

Share this

Related news

Journalist Moyo granted bail

Journalist Moyo granted bail

Journalist Jeffrey Moyo was on 15 June 2021 granted bail on appeal by High Court judge Justice Takuva in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo. This followed the denial of bail on 31 May 2021 by Magistrate Rachel Mukanga.  Read: Journalist Moyo denied bail Moyo was...

Annual report 2020 now available!

Annual report 2020 now available!

We are proud to release the MISA Zimbabwe Annual report for the year 2020. Below is an excerpt from the Chairperson's report; The year under review was one of the most eventful, both in terms of progress and negative outcomes in the context of the operating...

Regional Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum Resolutions

Regional Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum Resolutions

The Regional Governing Council of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and its Chapter directors organised and convened the Regional Multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 4 June 2021. The Annual Regional Multi-stakeholder...