MMPZ condemns media commission’s plan to ban foreign newspapers

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe is shocked by the news that the Zimbabwe Media Commission intends to ban the importation and distribution of foreign newspapers not registered with the ZMC. According to news reports, ZMC chairman, Godfrey Majonga, said the publishers of foreign newspapers circulating in Zimbabwe had been given notice more than a year ago of its intention to stop such newspapers from coming into the country if they had not registered with the commission in accordance with t

Now Majonga says the ZMC will enlist the assistance of the police to enforce this gag on independent foreign media. MMPZ is disappointed that instead of living up to its declared mandate to promote “a free and diverse media environment” in Zimbabwe by campaigning for the repeal of this archaic and repressive piece of legislation, it has instead, chosen to implement its suffocating and undemocratic provisions to stifle important alternative sources of information.

The ZMC’s decision to deprive citizens of their constitutional right to freely choose their sources of information is a flagrant violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” including “the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontier.”

Once again, the real purpose of establishing the Commission – to control all media activity and restrict the public’s access to independent sources of news – has been exposed and underlines the urgency with which this inclusive government needs to implement media law reform, starting with the repeal of AIPPA.

This notorious piece of legislation offends all the fundamental international and African protocols on the peoples’ right to freedom of expression and their right to seek, receive and impart information without interference.

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