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Ban threat against foreign newspapers
August 30, 2011
circulating in Zimbabwe risk being banned if they fail to register
with the statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) in terms of the
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
The ZMC is a statutory body that registers and licenses media houses
and journalists working in Zimbabwe against the principles of media
self-regulation as stipulated in terms of the Banjul Declaration
on the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa.
Titles that could be affected include The Sunday Times, Mail and
Guardian, Business Day and Financial Mail which are published in
South Africa as well as The Zimbabwean and Zimbabwean on Sunday
which are published by United Kingdom based Zimbabwean journalist
ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga said the publications should register
in Zimbabwe as soon as possible. "We will use the police to
confiscate all copies until the newspapers abide by what we want,"
said Majonga on 26 August 2011.
supposed to remit 0.01 percent of their earnings to ZMC if they
are operating in Zimbabwe. They are printed outside the country,
don't import newsprint or create employment."
In terms of the repressive AIPPA, the responsible Minister of Information
has absolute discretion to exempt for registration all mass media
service providers who are generally prohibited from owning media
organizations in Zimbabwe.
The threat will have a negative impact on the citizens' right to
access diverse information as it will push the cover prices of foreign
newspapers at a time when Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends
The newspapers in question will become a luxury that only the elite
will have access to depriving the generality of Zimbabweans the
right to make informed choices and decisions on matters that affect
their daily lives.
We therefore urge the ZMC and the responsible minister to take into
consideration the peculiar situation that Zimbabwean citizens face
regarding access to information by ensuring that the policies and
resolutions they come up with promote the emergence of an environment
in which citizens have increased and not diminished access to diverse
sources of information.
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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