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Statement on the gazetting of Constitutional Amendment No. 17 Bill
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
July 20, 2005

The National Constitutional Assembly (N.C.A.) is not surprised by the refusal of the Media And Information Commission to issue a licence to operate to the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe Group as the censorship of voices alternative to the government is the very reason for the existence of the Media and Information Commission established under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (A.I.P.P.A.)

A.I.P.P.A.'s function is to stifle the expression of views that may not meet the approval of the government. The Constitution of Zimbabwe gives token protection to freedom of expression, and none whatsoever to freedom of the press; thereby creating ideal conditions for repressive laws such as A.I.P.P.A. and the Public Order And Security Act (P.O.S.A.) to thrive. A democratic Constitution would render A.I.P.P.A. and P.O.S.A. unlawful.

The denial of a licence to the Associated Newspapers Group makes as much sense as if the Vehicle Inspection Department were to deny Drivers' licences to applicants previously convicted and sentenced for driving without licences whether or not they succeed on appeals. Such alarming thinking in national issues exposes the absence of a culture of governance based on democratic and national values.

The N.C.A. is convinced that only a people driven and democratic Constitution will restore sanity to public affairs in Zimbabwe.

Fungayi Jessie Majome
National Spokesperson

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