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Parliament moves motion on media law reform
June 22, 2011
Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology
this week recommended broadcasting and media law reforms in tandem
with the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) requirements following investigations
on the state of public media in Zimbabwe. The portfolio committee
also recommended the transformation of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) from being a state broadcaster into a genuine
public broadcaster in line with regional instruments.
were concerns that ZBC was wholly controlled by the Minister of
Media, Information and Publicity who appoints the body and issues
directives to the board and management and that it was highly as
a state controlled broadcaster, serving the interests of the state
rather than those of the public," the committee's report
also called for an end to ZBC monopoly, observing that "The
current monopoly being enjoyed by the ZBC was regarded as incompatible
with the right to freedom of expression as Article V (of the GPA)
obliges the state to encourage a diverse, independent private broadcasting
sector." the reports reads.
The report also
castigated the current media laws noting that they infringe on the
rights of journalists particularly the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which
purports to give journalists access to information held by a public
bodies when in reality there are a lot of restrictions hindering
them from getting that information.
way it curtails information on mismanagement or fraud in parastatals,
accountability by public officials and curtails the media's
watchdog role function to expose corruption in the interest of the
public," says the report.
also noted grievances by editors that punitive measures against
scribes accused of writing falsehoods were too harsh. The portfolio
committee noted that retraction of the story by the editor correcting
the position and admitting that they lied, was more damaging and
adequate punishment than sending the journalist to jail.
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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