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Scribes denounce SEC law

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Media practitioners yesterday criticised a law that qualifies financial journalists as securities investor advisors requiring licencing by the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SEC), saying it would result in over-regulation of media practitioners.
Financial journalists are already accredited to practise by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) according to the Access to Information Privacy Protection Act. In terms of Statutory Instrument 100/2010, which put into force the Securities Act of 2004, financial journalists who report and analyse securities such as stocks, bonds, bills and others are obliged to pay $2 000 in licence fees, and have up to December 31 to comply.
Dumisani Sibanda, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president, said the licencing requirement must be reversed.
“With $2 000 one can buy a second-hand car,” said Sibanda. He also criticised other non-fee requirements.
To get licenced, journalists must produce birth certificates, academic and professional qualifications, two passport-size photos, a curriculum vitae and police clearance.
Loughty Dube, chairman of Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), said SEC should have consulted the media community first before making the recommendation to government. “It’s unrealistic,” said Dube. “Journalism is a dissemination profession, not an idea-generating profession. The job of a reporter is to report. Can we, for example, say an entertainment reporter should become a member of Zimbabwe Music Association in order to write news about the arts?
“The issue of licencing is a violation of freedom of expression, because we will be doing our job of informing the public on what will be happening on the stock exchange,” said Njabulo Ncube, a media practitioner.
ZMC chairman Godfrey Majonga said the organisation was yet to come up with a position on the issue.
“We have no position at the moment,” said Majonga.

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