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to AIPPA unforgivable
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
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.
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
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,
Visit the Crisis in
Zimbabwe fact sheet
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