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State plans to amend AIPPA
June 22, 2004

The government plans to amend sections of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The amendments to the Act appeared in a government gazette released on 18 June 2004.

Sections of the principal Act to be amended include Section 40 which initially compelled members of the board of the commission to be appointed from nominees of an association of journalists and an association of media houses.

The proposed amendment reads:
Section 40 ("Appointment and composition of Media and Information Commissioní) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] (Act No. 5 of 2002) (is amended in subsection (2) by the deletion of "and an association of media houses" and the substitution of "or an association of media houses or both".

The amendment in effect now means that the nominations will be received from either or both such types of associations.

Section 83, which prohibits unaccredited or suspended journalists from practicing, has been amended so as to provide a penalty provision, which is presently absent.

The amendment reads:
Any person who contravenes this subsection (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level seven or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both such fine and such imprisonment.

The Bill also seeks to amend paragraph 4 of the Fourth Schedule of the Act that deals with the dismissal or suspension of members of the MIC, so as to provide for the appointment of an Independent Disciplinary Committee to determine whether any member of the commission suspended by the Minister for misconduct should be dismissed.

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