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Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill
November 30, 2001

Contents

PART XI

Regulation of Mass Media Services

66. Interpretation in Part VII.
67. Application of this Part.
68. Freedom of expression.
69. Abuse of freedom of expression.
70. Ownership of mass media service.
71. Registration of a mass media service.
72. Application for registration.
73. Re-registration and notification of changes.
74. Exemption from registration.
75. Refusal of registration of a mass media service.
76. Registration fee.
77. Cancellation of a registration certificate.
78. Termination or suspension of activity.
79. Penalties for operating a mass media service without registration certificate.
80. Accrual of rights and duties.
81. News agencies.
82. Publisher’s imprint.
83. Deposit copies.
84. Obligatory reports

 

66   Interpretation in Part VII   TOP

In this Part—

"dissemination of mass media products" means the sale, subscription, delivery, diffusion or distribution of periodically printed publications, audio-recorded programmes, electronically distributed information or teletext programmes;

"distributor" means a person who disseminates mass media products under an agreement with the mass media owners’ office or on any other lawful grounds;

"journalist" means a person who gathers, collects, edits or prepares messages and materials for the office of a mass media and is connected with it by the provision of his labour and other contractual relations or obligations or engaged in such other activity authorised by the editor;

"mass communication" means messages intended for an unlimited range of persons;

"mass media products" means an advertisement, the total print or part of the total print of the separate issue of a periodically printed publication, a separate issue of a teletext programme, the total data or part of the data of any electronically transmitted material, or audio or video recorded programme;

"periodically printed publication" means a regular newspaper, magazine or journal, bulletin or any other publication with a constant name.

67   Application of this Part   TOP

This Part shall apply to all mass media owners in Zimbabwe and foreign mass media owners that disseminate mass media products in Zimbabwe.

68   Freedom of expression   TOP

(1) Except as prescribed by this Act or any other law in force in Zimbabwe, the retrieval, receipt, production and dissemination of information and opinion to the public shall not be liable to restrictions.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act or any other law in force in Zimbabwe there shall be no censorship of mass information or the suppression of the dissemination of information and materials and separate parts thereof meant for the public.

69   Abuse of freedom of expression   TOP

(1) Any person accredited or organisation registered in terms of this Act shall not make use, by any means, of a mass media service for the purposes of—

(a) committing a criminal offence; or

(b) divulging a lawfully protected secret; or

(c) calling for the seizure or overthrow of constitutional government through violent means; or

(d) advocating a change of government by violence or other unconstitutional means; or

(e) denigrating, bringing into hatred or contempt or ridicule or to excite disaffection against the President, the law enforcement agents or the administration of justice in Zimbabwe; or

(f) distributing materials propagating pornography, bestiality or the cult of violence and cruelty; or

(g) distributing material which is harmful to children; or

(h) contravening any provision of this Act; or

(i) publishing a fabricated record of personal information.

(2) A person who contravenes subparagraphs (a) to (h) of subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.

70   Ownership of mass media service   TOP

(1) The following may own or co-own a mass media service—

(a) citizens of Zimbabwe;

(b) an association of citizens of Zimbabwe; and

(c) companies whose members are citizens of Zimbabwe;

(d) a state body or agency.

(2) The following persons and bodies may not own or co-own a mass media service—

(a) a person under the age of 18 years; or

(b) a person who is serving a sentence of imprisonment;

(c) an intellectually handicapped person recognised as legally unfit under the Mental Health Act [Chapter 15:06];

(d) an association of persons or an organisation whose activity is banned or prohibited by law; or

(e) a foreign citizen or a stateless person;

(f) a company whom some or all of its members are not citizens of Zimbabwe.

(3) Co-owners shall act jointly and have the same duties and responsibilities as a mass media owner.

71   Registration of a mass media service   TOP

(1) A mass media owner shall carry on the activities of a mass media service only after registering and receiving a certificate of registration in terms of this Act.

(2) An application for the registration of a mass media service whose products are intended for dissemination in Zimbabwe shall be submitted by its owner to the Commission in the form and manner prescribed.

(3) The Commission shall, upon receiving an application for registration, send a notification of receipt of the application to the owner or person authorised by him indicating the date the application was received, and the Commission shall consider such application within a month of receiving it.

(4) A mass media service shall be registered when it is issued with a certificate of registration by the Commission.

(5) A certificate issued in terms of subsection (4) shall be valid for a period of two years and may be renewed thereafter.

(6) The registered owner shall start circulating his mass media’s products six months from the date of the issue of the registration certificate, failing which the registration certificate shall be deemed to be cancelled.

72   Application for registration   TOP

(1) The application for the registration of a mass media service shall be as prescribed and shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee.

73   Re-registration and notification of changes   TOP

(1) A mass media service shall be re-registered if—

(a) the owner is replaced;

(b) the co-owners change;

(c) the name, language, form and frequency of the periodical dissemination of mass media is altered;

(d) the area where the mass media products are circulated is changed.

(2) The owner shall, within one month, notify the Commission, in writing, if the editorial office changes its place of location and form.

(3) A mass media service whose activity is terminated by a decision of a court of law shall not be re-registered.

74   Exemption from registration   TOP

(1) The following mass media services are exempted from registering in terms of this Act—

(a) a mass media service founded under an Act of Parliament;

(b) a mass media service that circulates mass media products that are not for sale for mass circulation and subject to conditions prescribed by the Minister.

75   Refusal of registration of a mass media service   TOP

(1) The Commission may refuse to register a mass media service—

(a) if it fails to comply with the provisions of this Part;

(b) if the information indicated in an application is false, misleading or contains any misrepresentation;

(c) if the name, area of focus or the specialisation of a mass media service are altered without obtaining the prior consent of the Commission;

(d) if the Commission has already registered a mass media service with the same name and form of dissemination of mass communication;

and the Commission shall forward a written notification of the refusal of registration, stating the grounds upon which such refusal is based.

(2) An application for the registration of a mass media service shall not be considered—

(a) if it contravenes any provision of this Act;

(b) if the application has been filed by a person who has no authority to do so;

(c) if the application fee has not been paid.

(3) An application for registration may be re-submitted for consideration after the removal of any contraventions or when there is a change of circumstances.

76   Registration fee   TOP

(1) The registration fee shall be as prescribed by the Minister:

Provided that the Minister may prescribe a higher fee for established mass media service specialising in commercial mass media services and advertising and a lower fee for a mass media service specialising producing materials intended for children, adolescents and disabled persons and used for educational, philanthropic and social purposes.

77  Cancellation of a registration certificate   TOP

(1) The Commission may cancel a registration certificate if—

(a) the registration certificate has been obtained by fraudulent means;

(b) a mass media service does not publish or go on air within six months from the date of registration;

(c) the mass media owner contravenes a provision of this Act.

(d) the mass media owner fails to comply with an order or directive of the Commission.

(2) The Commission shall not refund the registration fee if a certificate of registration is cancelled in terms of subsection (1).

(3) A mass media service whose certificate of registration is cancelled in terms of this section shall cease to operate forthwith and may not reapply for registration until after the expiration of a period of two years.

78   Termination or suspension of activity   TOP

(1) The Commission or the owner of a mass media service may suspend or terminate the functioning of a mass media service.

(2) The owner may terminate or suspend the functioning of a mass media service only in terms of the statutes or articles of the editorial office.

(3) The Commission may, upon the determination of a complaint against any mass media service registered in terms of this Act, either suspend, terminate or censure that mass media service.

(4) The Commission may, after issuing four written warnings to the founder or mass media owner of a mass media service of repeated contraventions of any provision of this Act, terminate the registration of such mass media.

79   Penalties for operating a mass media service without registration certificate   TOP

(1) No person shall carry on or operate a mass media service without a valid registration certificate issued in terms of this Part.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) In addition to any fine imposed in terms of subsection (2) and without derogation from any of its powers granted under any enactment a court convicting a person of contravening subsection (1) may declare forfeited to the State any product, equipment or apparatus used for the purpose of or in connection with the offence.

(4) The proviso to subsection (1) and subsections (3), (4), (5) and (6) of section 62 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in relation to a declaration made in terms of subsection (3).

(5) If the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that a mass media service is being operated in contravention of this Act, he shall issue a certificate authorising the police to seize the said media’s products, equipment or apparatus, and impound them pending the finalisation of the criminal prosecution in terms of this section.

80   Accrual of rights and duties   TOP

(1) The rights and duties of the owner and the mass media service set out in this Act shall commence from the date of registration of a mass media service, while those set out in the articles of the mass media service shall commence from the date of incorporation.

(2) The owner, mass media service, or distributor may in addition institute mutual rights and duties on a contractual basis provided that they do not contravene the provisions of this Act or any other law.

81   News agencies   TOP

(1) Subject to this Act, no person shall carry on or operate a news agency without a valid registration certificate issued in terms of this Part.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction to a fine not exceeding one million dollars or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) In addition to any fine imposed in terms of subsection (2)and without derogation from any of its powers granted under any enactment a court convicting a person of contravening subsection (1) may declare forfeited to the State any equipment or apparatus used for the purpose of or in connection with the offence.

(4) The proviso to subsection (1) and subsections (3), (4), (5) and (6) of section 62 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Chapter 9:07] shall apply, mutatis mutandis, in relation to a declaration in terms of subsection (3).

(5) If the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that a news agency is being operated in contravention of this Act, he shall issue a certificate authorising the police to seize the said agency’s equipment or apparatus, and impound them pending the finalisation of the criminal prosecution in this section.

(6) Any messages or materials belonging to a news agency and distributed by another mass media service shall state the name of the news agency.

82   Publisher’s imprint   TOP

Every issue of a periodically printed publication or electronic programme shall contain a publisher’s imprint as prescribed.

83   Deposit copies   TOP

The mass media service shall send free deposit copies of a periodical to the Commission and the archives.

84   Obligatory reports   TOP

A mass media service shall be obliged to publish, free of charge and in the prescribed manner a decision of a court or the Commission pertaining to its mass media service that has come into effect, if it is a newspaper, on the front page or centrespread and if it is electronic media, three times during prime time.

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