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




85. Rights of a journalist.
86. Accreditation of journalists.
87. Journalists’ code of conduct.
88. Use of hidden equipment.
89. Abuse of journalistic privilege.
90. Extent of status and recognition of journalists.
91. Roll of journalists.
92. Application for accreditation as a journalist.
93. Accreditation as a journalist.
94. Prohibition against practice by, or in association with an unqualified journalist.
95. Duration of accreditation certificate of journalist.
96. Discipline of journalists.
97. Correction of untruthful information.
98. Manner in which correction is to be made.
99. Grounds for the refusal of a correction.
100. The right of reply.
101. Foreign correspondents


85   Rights of a journalist   TOP

Subject to this Act and any other law, a journalist shall have the right—

(a) to enquire, gather, receive and disseminate information;

(b) to visit public bodies with the express purpose of carrying out duties as a journalist;

(c) to get access to documents and materials as prescribed in this Act;

(d) to make recordings with the use of audio-video equipment, photography and cine-photography;

(e) to refuse to prepare under his signature reports and materials inconsistent with his convictions;

(f) to remove his signature from a report or material whose content was distorted, in his opinion, in the process of editorial preparations or to ban or stipulate in any other way the conditions and manner of using this report; or

(g) to circulate reports and materials he prepared under his signature, under a pseudonym or without any signature.

86   Accreditation of journalists   TOP

(1) No journalist shall work in Zimbabwe without being accredited by the Commission.

(2) The Minister shall prescribe the form and manner in which journalists will be accredited.

(3) A mass media service may file an application for accreditation on behalf of journalists employed by such mass media service.

87   Journalists’ code of conduct   TOP

The Commission shall, in consultation with journalists and mass media services’ offices develop a code of conduct for journalists.

88   Use of hidden equipment   TOP

(1) A journalist may disseminate reports and materials prepared using hidden audio-video recording, photography and cine-photography if—

(a) it is necessary to protect the interests of the public and reasonable measures have been taken to prevent the possible identification of affected persons;

(b) the recording has been permitted by a decision of a court of law.

89   Abuse of journalistic privilege   TOP

(1) A journalist shall be deemed to have abused his journalistic privilege and committed an offence if he does the following—

(a) except where he is employed by a news agency, he rewrites a story that has already been published by another mass media service without the permission of that mass media owner;

(b) if he conceals, falsifies or fabricates information;

(c) if he spreads rumours, falsehoods or causes alarm and despondency under the guise of authentic reports;

(d) except where he is a freelance journalist, collects and disseminates information on behalf of another person who is not part of the mass media service that employs him;

(e) if he deliberately spreads information that discredits a person or a category of persons on the basis of sex, age, race, nationality, language, religion, profession, place of residence and work, and of political convictions; or

(f) if he contravenes a provision of this Act.

(2) A person who contravenes subparagraphs (a) to (1) of section (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.

90   Extent of status and recognition of journalists   TOP

The professional status and recognition of journalists established by this Act shall extend to workers of editorial offices involved in editing, writing, collecting or preparing communications and materials for newspapers with a large circulation and other mass media owners whose products are disseminated exclusively within one enterprise, association, organisation or institution.

91   Roll of journalists   TOP

The Commission shall maintain a roll of all journalists and shall issue to every person whose name is entered in the roll, a certificate of accreditation in the prescribed form.

92   Application for accreditation as a journalist   TOP

Any person who wishes to be accredited as a journalist shall apply to the Commission in the form and manner prescribed.

93   Accreditation as a journalist   TOP

The Commission may accredit an applicant as a journalist if it is satisfied that the applicant—

(a) has complied with the prescribed formalities; and

(b) possesses the prescribed qualifications; and

(c) is a citizen of and is domiciled in Zimbabwe.

94   Prohibition against practice by, or in association with an unqualified journalist   TOP

(1) No person other than an accredited journalist shall practise as a journalist nor be employed as such or in any manner hold himself out as or pretend to be a journalist.

(2) No person who has ceased to be an accredited journalist as a result of the deletion of his name from the roll, or who has been suspended from practising as a journalist, shall, while his name is so deleted, or is so suspended, continue to practise directly or indirectly as a journalist, whether by himself or in partnership or association with any other person, nor shall he, except with the written consent of the Commission, be employed in any capacity whatsoever connected with the journalistic profession.

(3) No mass media shall employ or practise with any journalist who is not accredited in terms of this Act.

95   Duration of accreditation certificate of journalist   TOP

An accreditation certificate issued in terms of this Part shall be valid for a period of 12 months and may be renewed thereafter upon the same terms and conditions that applied when the initial certificate was issued.

96   Discipline of journalists   TOP

For the purpose of exercising disciplinary control and other powers over journalists, the Commission shall, after affording the journalist a fair hearing, have the following powers—

(a) deleting his name from the roll of journalists;

(b) ordering his suspension for a specified period;

(c) imposing such conditions as it deems fit subject to which he shall be allowed to practise;

(d) ordering him to pay a penalty not exceeding $50,000;

(e) cautioning him; or

(f) referring the matter for prosecution.

97   Correction of untruthful information   TOP

(1) A person shall have the right, at no cost, to demand from a mass media service correction of untruthful information that denigrates his honour and dignity that was published by that mass media service and the same right shall vest in the lawful representatives of the person, if he has no opportunity of demanding a correction.

(2) A mass media owner shall be obliged to publish a correction in the next issue after the date of receipt of the demand for a correction of its text.

(3) If a person has submitted a text of the correction, the text shall be disseminated as long as it does not contravene a provision of this Act.

(4) A person aggrieved by a decision of a mass media owner to refuse to publish a correction may appeal to the Commission.

98   Manner in which correction is to be made   TOP

(1) A correction shall indicate the information published by the given mass media service that was not truthful and real and when it was published by that mass media service.

(2) A correction shall be published in the same manner as the refuted report or material was published and shall be set up with the same type and featured under the heading "Correction".

(4) The scope of correction may not exceed twice as much the scope of the reflected fragment of the report or material.

99   Grounds for the refusal of a correction   TOP

(1) A correction may be refused if the demand or the submitted text of correction—

(a) represents an abuse of the freedom of mass communication as set out in section 69;

(b) contradicts a decision of a court;

(c) is anonymous;

(d) the demand for correction or the submitted text was received by the mass media service after the expiration of one year since the day of the publication of the information to be corrected by the given mass media service.

(2) The refusal to correct or the infringement of the order or manner in which a correction is to be made in terms of this Act may be appealed against to the Commission within one year from the date of the publication of the refuted information and the Commission shall consider the appeal within 30 days of receiving it.

100   The right of reply   TOP

(1) A person or organisation in respect of whom a mass media service has published information that is not truthful or real or impinges on his rights or lawful interests shall have a right of reply in the same mass media service and at no cost to him and the reply shall be given the same prominence as the offending story.

(2) The reply shall be featured in the next issue of the mass media service.

101   Foreign correspondents   TOP

(1) A representative office of foreign mass media service shall be set up in Zimbabwe only with the permission of the Minister.

(2) Only journalists accredited in terms of this Act shall represent foreign correspondents in Zimbabwe.

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