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MISA-Zambia condemns amendments to AIPPA act by Zim government
Zambia Independent Media Association
November 12, 2004

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia has expressed its dissappointment with the government of Zimbabwe for tightening the obnoxious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), by stiffening the punishment for anyone found practising journalism without a license in Zimbabwe. This is according to a statement released.

The two-year jail sentence or a fine that the amended AIPPA now imposes on journalists who breach the draconian law is unjustified. These penalties will further dampen the spirits of media practitioners in Zimbabwe, who have courageously soldiered on in spite of the numerous challenges they face from President Mugabe’s autocratic regime.

The media in Zimbabwe have become victims and sacrificial lambs in the political battles the Mugabe regime is waging with the West. Each time the Zimbabwean government wants to hit at the West, it comes up with regulations whose ultimate goal is to cripple the media to a point where they stop criticising it.

MISA Zambia says it is worried about the continued clampdown on the media in Zimbabwe because of the possible influence this might have on the actions of other governments in the SADC region. The establishment of a regional newspaper called the Southern Times at the behest of Zimbabwe, in conjunction with the Namibian government, is evidence of the Zimbabwean government’s ability to influence its neighbours.

MISA Zambia has appealed to SADC leaders and President Thabo Mbeki, who is the current African Union (AU) chairperson, to exert pressure on Mr. Mugabe, so that he repeals his government’s oppressive and undemocratic media laws.

Furthermore, the organisation urges the AU to take a principled stand on Zimbabwe and urge President Mugabe to live up to the standards of good governance that AU leaders have set for themselves in the Peer Review Mechanism.

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