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Media players call for decriminalisation of journalism



Media Alliance of Zimbabwe and Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe yesterday jointly called for the decriminalisation of the journalistic profession through reviewing of media laws that infringe on freedom of expression.

Speaking at a media briefing in Harare, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe director Loughty Dube said the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) still criminalised the profession of journalism and, thus, needed urgent repealing.

“Under Aippa, a journalist is liable for a possible jail term of two years and this criminalised the profession,” he said.

“We are hopeful that any law that comes up should, therefore, decriminalise the profession of journalism.”

MISA Zimbabwe lawyer Christopher Mhike said a censorship board should not be used in a democratic country such as Zimbabwe.

“We want the media freedoms and freedom of expression platform to be broadened, so we are calling for the abolishment of the Censorship Board, which is an archaic institution with no place in a modern democracy,” he said.

“The relevant law that established that kind of policy should, therefore, be repealed or substantially amended.”

Mhike said all other laws, among them the Broadcasting Services Act, which hamper on the practise of journalism, should be reviewed to guarantee freedom of expression.

He also said it was important for government to amend investment laws for the media sector to allow foreign potential investors to sink their money in Zimbabwe.

“The Government of Zimbabwe has said that the country is open for business. That should also apply to the media sector. Investment laws relating to the media tend to limit the ability of investors to invest,” Mhike said.

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