AIPPA to be repealed by year-end: PM

morgan__pmHARARE Zimbabwes draconian media laws will be repealed by the end of the year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (Pictured) revealed last week.

Observing that no society could be deemed free without freedom of speech and assembly, Tsvangirai said the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) would be replaced by more progressive media laws by December. New independent, daily newspapers are about to be launched and the repressive media laws of old will be repealed and replaced by progressive legislation by year-end, Tsvangirai said in a message to mark Africa Day. Zimbabwean media groups have complained about the slow pace of reforms to the sector 15 months after the formation of a coalition government, one of whose main mandates is to oversee the freeing of the airwaves and facilitate the registration of new players.

Earlier this month, the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum accused the government of taking its time to repeal AIPPA and other repressive laws such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which continue to affect freedom of the press a year after media practitioners asked for their repeal at a conference in the resort town of Kariba. But Information Minister Webster Shamu insists that AIPPA and the Broadcasting Services Act have been extremely amended in 2007 and


The minister criticised the amendments to the media and security laws proposed under a 2008 power-sharing pact between President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai divisive and discriminatory, warning that they would undermine the work of constitutional bodies put in place to regulate media issues. Mugabe and long time rival Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year following a dispute over general elections in March 2008 and have promised a raft of reforms, including freeing up the media by allowing more players.

Western donors, whose aid is essential to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery from a decade-long downturn, have demanded broad political reforms before funding the unity government, which says it needs at least US$10 billion for reconstruction.

The southern African state has been urged to scarp legislation that bars foreign journalists from working long-term in the country.

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