AIPPA among laws being subjected to review – deputy minister

The restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) is among the more than 400 laws that are being reviewed for realignment with the new constitution, Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Supa Mandiwanzira has said.

Mandiwanzira
Mandiwanzira

Speaking in Harare on 29 April 2014 during a MISA-Zimbabwe breakfast meeting on the state of access to information, Mandiwanzira reiterated government’s commitment to realigning the country’s laws with the new constitutional provisions on freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information.

The breakfast meeting was convened by MISA-Zimbabwe as part of its countdown activities to this year’s World Press Freedom Day which is commemorated annually on 3 May throughout the world.

He said AIPPA was among the laws being reviewed by an inter-ministerial committee that is looking at more than 400 other laws that should be re-aligned in line with the new constitutional dispensation.

Section 62 (4) of the Constitution which guarantees the right to access to information provides as follows:

Legislation must be enacted to give effect to this right (access to information), but may restrict access to information in the interests of defence, public security or professional confidentiality, to the extent that the restriction is fair, reasonable, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom.

Almost a year after the signing into law of the new constitution, Zimbabwe is still to enact a new freedom of information law as stated and demanded for by the country’s supreme law.

The deputy minister said the realignment of the country’s laws in sync with Zimbabwe’s new constitution was taking time because of other competing priorities . “We are committed as a ministry and we are committed as government,” he said.

He, however, did not give a timeframe saying this would be a process considering the cost implications and other competing priorities.

Mandiwanzira urged media stakeholders to take advantage of the ongoing outreach programmes by the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) to influence the future of the media landscape in Zimbabwe before it completes its work by end of July this year.

He assured stakeholders that the government would implement recommendations that will be submitted to his ministry by IMPI upon completion of its work. IMPI was constituted by the government to assess the state of information and media industry in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, MISA-Zimbabwe took opportunity of the event to unveil its 2014 WPFD theme: Right to Know Key to Life, as part of its efforts to push for the repeal of AIPPA and enactment of a new democratic information law as demanded for under the new constitution.

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