Media Laws Tightened

HARARE - The General Laws Amendment Act which tightens the presidential insult laws and communication of falsehoods under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) has been signed into law. The General Laws Amendments which amends several other Acts including the amendment of 22 sections of POSA

was signed into law by Acting President Joice Mujuru, according to a notice published in the Government Gazette last Friday.

The amendments increase the fine imposed under Section 16 of POSA which deals with undermining the authority of the President from Z$20 000 to Z$2 million or one year imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment.

The Section deals with the publication of false statements that will engender feelings of hostility towards or cause hatred, contempt or ridicule of the President or Acting President.

Those convicted under Section 15 of POSA which deals with the publishing or communication of statements prejudicial to the State will now be liable to a fine of Z$10 million or five years imprisonment or both such fine and imprisonment up from Z$100,000.

The section also covers the publishing of statements likely to promote or incite public disorder or adversely affect the security or economic interests of Zimbabwe.

Causing disaffection among the police force or defence forces will attract a fine not exceeding Z$4 million.

Unauthorized public gatherings for the purposes of rioting or causing disorder will be punishable by a fine of up to Z$10 million.

The proposed amendments will not alter the prison terms imposed under POSA. – MISA

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