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Government willing to amend AIPPA
October 16, 2006

The Acting Minister of Information and Publicity Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana says the government is willing to discuss and repeal certain sections of the restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) that curtail media freedom.

Addressing journalists at the Quill Club, the national press club in Harare last Friday, Minister Mangwana reiterated his support for the establishment of an independent self-regulatory media council. He said the government was forced to come up with the statutory Media and Information Commission (MIC) because as the fourth estate, the media could not operate without some form of regulation to protect "national interest".

"Show me a workable self-regulatory body and we can talk," he said adding that the government was willing to repeal sections of AIPPA that impede journalistic freedom.

Media freedom, he said, should however, come with responsibility and fair play.

The statutory MIC has closed four privately-owned newspapers, The Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, The Tribune and Weekly Times since the enactment of AIPPA in 2002.

Plans to set up an independent media council in Zimbabwe are already at an advanced stage with MISA-Zimbabwe working in conjunction with its partners under the auspices of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), earmarking the launch of the independent body before the end of this year.

This comes in the wake of the completion of extensive nationwide consultative meetings with key stakeholders on the principle of media self-regulation through a nationally binding Code of Ethics. The consultative meetings which kicked off in January 2006 were led by MISA-Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ).

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