New fees penalise foreign media

The Zimbabwean government has imposed restrictive new licensing fees for journalists and media organizations.

The announcement comes after the January amendment of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, AIPPA, an obnoxious media law that has been routinely employed by government to victimize journalists and put them on trial for allegedly “publishing falsehoods.”

An extra-ordinary gazette signed by Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Friday says each reporter writing for The Zimbabwean would be required to pay a staggering US$4,000 (Z$34 billion) in hard currency.

Application fees for registration for a mass media service is now Z$5 billion, with renewal of registration now attracting Z$2 billion. The application fee for a news agency is now Z$2 billion, the registration fee Z$3 billion while renewal registration fee is now Z$2 billion.

Local journalists working for local media will pay a total of Z$11 million, broken down as Z$3 million application fees and Z$8 million accreditation fee. Local freelance journalists will pay Z$2,5 million application fees and Z$6 million accreditation plus an admin fee of Z$2 million.

Although one of the commission’s stated objectives is “to foster freedom of expression in Zimbabwe,” the group is also endowed with enormous powers to control, license, and accredit journalists and can refuse to register newspapers and members of the media.

The new regulations are expected to put enormous financial strain on independent media outlets, which must now pay to register and accredit every journalist on their staff.  

Post published in: News

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