THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Amendments to AIPPA unforgivable
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
November 23, 2004

On Tuesday November 9, 2004 the Parliament of Zimbabwe passed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Bill, which among other changes to the principal Act criminalize the profession of journalism in Zimbabwe.

Once again the ruling ZANU PF party abused its parliamentary majority and voted in favour of the violation of Zimbabweans’ civil liberties particularly the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

Forty-one ZANU PF legislators agreed that journalists found practicing without accreditation shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine, imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both while 37 Movement for Democratic Change opposed the amendment.

Equally unforgivable is the behaviour of the opposition MDC lawmakers. If all the 51 opposition MPs were in Parliament, they could have temporarily vetoed the passing of the diabolic amendment even for a day before ZANU PF regrouped. That short-lived victory would have been a crucial democratic message to the government that its hate laws have no space in a civilised nation.

The other change also denies the existence of an association of media houses particularly because it is not pro-government or specifically not pro-Jonathan Moyo, the architect of the evil AIPPA.

This part sought to amend Section 40 (2) of the principal Act, which requires some members of the board of the Media and Information Commission (MIC) to be appointed from nominees of an association of journalists and an association of media houses.

Moyo argued that an association of media houses does not exist and it was advisable that nominations should be received from either or both such types of associations.

In Moyo’s imagination and for the purposes of controlling members of MIC, the Advertising Media Association does not exist which in all purposes represents the interests of media houses.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition therefore condemns the use of law to settle political scores with certain sections of the media that are critical to official policies.

Laws are made to serve the national interest and not parochial party political interest as Zimbabwe has witnessed since Moyo was appointed junior minister following the violent June 2000 Parliamentary elections.

The amendments are a flagrant violation of the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections and show a determination by ZANU PF to establish a pariah state.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has seen it fit to defy Section 7.5 of the SADC principles and guidelines which states, "Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression …’’

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.