Repeal Aippa – Misa


The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe Chapter is dismayed at the reluctance by the inclusive government to repeal the draconian Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) in its entirety.
The media body has also called for the removal of a raft of other repressive laws that continues to inhibit media freedom and Zimbabweans’ right to freedom of expression and access to information.
The call follows the announcement by President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday that the Media Practitioners’ Bill, which had been on the cards for more than a year following recommendations of the All-Media Stakeholders’ Conference held in Kariba in May 2009, would be among the 23 bills constituting the legislative agenda of the next parliamentary session.
Misa said the bill seeks to “repeal the part of the Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), which deals with the registration of journalists and privacy issues.
“The address also betrays the authorities’ desire to maintain controls and restrictions on media activity which have been widely condemned as inimical to media freedom,” Misa said.
Misa said only the repeal of Aippa and other laws that erode media freedom and their replacement with those compatible with the best practice in media regulation, would amount to genuine media reforms necessary for the democratic development of Zimbabwe.
The best practice laws are already enshrined in regional and international instruments on freedom of expression.
Misa said prior to the announcement by President Mugabe, former deputy information minister Jameson Timba had earlier mentioned plans to replace Aippa with this Bill together with the Freedom of Information Bill to try and ease the current stringent media regulation.
Notably, President Mugabe was silent on the Freedom of Information Bill.
Aippa was enacted in 2002 to regulate media activity in the country and provides for among other things statutory media regulation through the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) the body is also responsible for the registration, accreditation and licensing of journalists and media houses.