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  • Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles

  • Mugabe proposes eavesdropping law
    Mail & Guardian (SA)
    May 27, 2006

    Zimbabwe's government has published a Bill that, if passed by Parliament, would enable state agents to eavesdrop on private conversations and monitor faxes and e-mails, a state daily reported on Saturday.

    "The government has gazetted the Interception of Communications Bill 2006, that seeks to establish a communication centre to intercept and monitor certain communications in the course of their transmission, through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service system," The Herald said.

    The Bill, a copy of which has been circulating among the media and rights groups, was published in the Government Gazette late on Friday.

    The gazette is the last stop for draft laws before reaching Parliament, where President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) enjoys a majority.

    Under the proposed law, telecommunication service providers will be compelled to install devices to enable interception of phone conversations, faxes and e-mails.

    The draft law allows the Minister of Transport and Communications to issue an interception warrant to state agents "where there are reasonable grounds for the minister to believe, among other things, that a serious offence has been, is being or
    will probably be committed or that there is a threat to safety or national security".

    Rights groups have slammed the proposed law as further tightening President Robert Mugabe's iron grip on the media and communications.

    Zimbabwe passed a tough media law early 2002 which has been invoked to expel foreign correspondents, shut down four independent newspapers -- including a popular daily renowned for its anti-government stance -- and emasculating a once-vibrant independent press.

    The country's broadcasting laws have been used to maintain the monopoly of state broadcasters, while independent media have circumvented the laws by operating pirate radio stations from abroad. - Sapa-AFP

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