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unveils bill to step up control of independent press
sans frontières (RSF)
June 24, 2004
A bill to amend
the March 2002 law on access to information and protection of privacy,
announced by the Zimbabwean government on 18 June, will reinforce
control over an already debilitated independent press, Reporters
Without Borders protested today.
to the Daily News and, more recently, The Tribune clearly show that
the access to information law is a tool used by President Robert
Mugabe's government to censor the privately-owned media and silence
all dissenting voices," the organization said. "This new
amendment will just give the courts additional powers to harass
Section 83 of
the 2002 law bans journalists from working unless they previously
obtain a renewable 12-month accreditation from the government's
Media and Information Commission (MIC). Under the proposed amendment,
any breach of this section will be punishable by up to two years
confirm Zimbabwe's status as southern Africa's worst violator of
press freedom," Reporters Without Borders said, calling on
the authorities to abandon a bill that will mean that "journalists
can be imprisoned for just doing their job."
of the bill comes on the heels of an MIC order on 10 June closing
The Tribune for a year, in response to which The Tribune owner Kindness
Paraza announced that he intended to continue to bring the newspaper
out in defiance of the order.
Around 100 journalist
have had their accreditation withdrawn in the past two years. Dissuading
them from continuing to work without accreditation is clearly one
of the aims of the new amendment. It is scheduled to be submitted
within a few weeks to a parliament that consists mainly of members
of the ruling Zanu PF party.
Borders - International secretariat
5 rue Geoffroy-Marie
Phone : 33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax : 33 145 23 11 51
www.rsf.org / firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporters sans frontières
Bureau Afrique - Africa desk
Tel : 33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax : 33 1 45 23 11 51
5, rue Geoffroy-Marie
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