Zimbabwe govt embarks on media reforms

Government has embarked on the process of reviewing the country’s media laws and policies to see how they can be improved to achieve best international practice and to align them with the Constitution, a Cabinet minister has said.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by his secretary, Mrs Virginia Mabiza, during 2019 World Press Freedom Day breakfast meeting organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi said the media law and policy reform trajectory commenced with the announcement of the legislative agenda for the Ninth Parliament by the President.

“This legislative agenda was informed by the need for the completion of the legislative alignment process. This constitutional legislative alignment process is part of a myriad of mechanisms required to facilitate the full implantation of the Constitution,” he said.

Minister Ziyambi said reforms of existing legislation was also set to improve the operations of Government.

“If these laws are left unattended, not only does it open a flood-gate of constitutional cases, but it also adversely affects the operations of Government and the State, to the detriment of the people. More so, it will tarnish the international image of the country,” he said.

“The effort to give effect to the Constitution provisions must be welcomed. Section 61 of the Constitution provides for freedom of expression and freedom of the media, which was not guaranteed in the previous Constitution,”

Minister Ziyambi revealed that Government had commenced consultations with relevant stakeholders in the media industry under the media advocacy banner such as MISA, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Zimbabwe Association of Communication Radio Stations and the Editors Forum, among others on reviewing media laws and policies.

Minister Ziyambi also said AIPPA was being repealed and replaced with three Acts, which are the Freedom of Information Bill, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill and the Protection of Personal Information/Data Protection Bill.

Speaking during the same event, MISA Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Golden Maunganidze commended the strides made by Government towards media reforms.

“MISA Zimbabwe welcomes steps taken by the Government so far through the three draft Bills as part of its commitment and pledges to implement the long-overdue media law and policy reforms,” he said.
Mr Maunganidze said media freedom and freedom of expression violations should be condemned.