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Zimbabwe: IMPI Releases Media, Information Inquiry Report

Recent study recommends repeal of country’s restrictive media laws

The Information and Media Panel of Inquiry, which was sanctioned by the Zimbabwe government, has released its report on the country’s information and media sectors. The 666-page report ultimately recommends for government reviews and repeals of restrictive media laws on Zimbabwe’s information and media sectors.

Among the recommendations, the report identifies the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Broadcasting Services Act, Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Official Secrets Act and Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act.

The report states, “the orientation of laws affecting the information sector has been one of control, and not one of viewing this sector anew as a growth pole in the national economy… The main recommendation is the need for review of existing media laws in line with the Constitution, including media regulation and removal of all penal measures and criminalization.”

IMPI also recommends in the report that the Interception of Communications Act be updated to take into account technological developments to provide better protection of citizens’ right to privacy and protection of state security.

Other major points covered in the report include the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation becoming more of a state broadcast with too much bias in its coverage, raising awareness on Zimbabwe’s digitization plan, the development of a licensing framework for community radio, the establishment and subsidy of information centers, legal framework for a converged broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory body and media regulation laws in line with regional and international standards.

The report was officially presented to the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Professor Jonathan Moyo on March 18.