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Report on MMPZ’s participation at the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
November 04, 2013

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The 54th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) was held in Banjul, The Gambia from 22nd to 5th November 2013. As per tradition, the session was preceded by the Forum on the participation of NGOs to the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (NGO Forum) and the 28th African Human Rights Book Fair, which ran concurrently with the NGO Forum.

Representatives of Zimbabwean civil society present included Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (represented by Faith Ndlovu), the Human Rights NGO Forum (both the local office in Zimbabwe and the international office in London), Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, and Media Alliance of Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean government was represented by delegates from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.


MMPZ participated in the 54th Ordinary session of the ACHPR at a time when Zimbabwe has adopted a new constitution that for the first time explicitly recognises media freedom. The constitution, which has an expanded Declaration of Rights, also promotes media freedom and access to information. However, MMPZ’s participation came at a time when laws that are contrary to the spirit of the new constitution such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Interception of Communications Act, the Broadcasting Services Act, among other repressive laws, have yet to be repealed or amended. As a result these laws continue to be used to suppress peoples’ freedom to access information. For example, in July 2013 two staff members from Kwelaz community broadcasters were arrested and appeared in court for breaching sections of the Broadcasting Services Act. Similarly, the airwaves are yet to be opened to community and commercial radio stations; as well as private television stations. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s call for commercial licences is one step towards liberalization although MMPZ believes that community broadcasting should be established if Zimbabwe is to achieve a holistic three-tier broadcasting system.

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