News / Africa

Zimbabwe MP Wants to Ease Strict Media Laws

A Zimbabwean member of parliament wants to introduce a bill that would change the country’s strict media laws. Some Zimbabwe journalists say the initiative might not yield the freedom of press they want.  

Zimbabwe has at least six laws that curtail the operations of media and have resulted in journalists being arrested, deported or denied operating licenses.

New governemnt, old repressive laws

Member of parliament Settlement Chikwinya said little has changed in the past four years, despite formation of the unity government which promised to repeal all repressive laws.

“It is still prohibitive for freedom of expression, and that is why we have come up with a bill that tries to promote freedom of expression and transparency," Chikwinya said. "In actual terms it remains draconian, in the fact that it criminalizes journalistic practice - when yet the world over, journalistic practices, if there is any alleged offense, civil proceedings must take precedence."

The fact that an MP is proposing the bill is itself unusual. In Zimbabwe, government ministers traditionally introduce new bills. If Chikwinya's bill becomes law, it will be a first in Zimbabwe's 32-year history.

Chikwinya's bill

The bill Chikwinya is proposing would reduce government interference in the operation, accreditation and regulation of the media.

On Friday, the MP invited journalists to critique his bill before he presents it to parliament later this month. One of the journalists, Golden Gutu, seemed unimpressed by the proposal.

“To me, I do see a difference between this proposed bill and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act," Gutu said. "I think the MP could have done much better to propose the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act rather than to retain [it] in a different title.”

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is Zimbabwe’s main media law, established by President Robert Mugabe’s government 10 years ago.

Tafadzwa Mariso, a freelance journalist, also attended the Friday briefing. He said, “I think it is a good initiative as long as it goes with the amendments that have been proposed.  We want him to separate the issues of the freedom of the press and media regulation.”

The amendments Mariso speaks of would prevent the government from naming people to a media council to regulate journalists. Judging from the Friday briefing, many journalists would prefer self-regulation.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lucky sibanda
November 10, 2012 1:43 PM
Six laws that curtail press reporting says it all. The meltdown of the economy,and many other sectors including industry,mining, agriculture and exodus of refugees are clear signs that time is running out. Sadly Press reporting is not really going to correct the above issues, all of which are man made.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid