Zimbabwean media organizations on Wednesday said they reject the amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act parliament adopted this week, saying only a self-regulatory body run by journalists can ensure a free press.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa dismissed the new laws. MISA said the changes are more administrative than substantive

Journalists are particularly unhappy that the Media and Information Commission will be kept in place as the Zimbabwe Media Commission which will no longer be empowered to license journalists as in the past but which will issue journalistic credentials. But the new language empowers it to "register mass media," potentially leaving room for it to deny such registration as a means of pressuring media critical of the government. A new Media Council is to be established to pursue disciplinary actions.

MISA Chairman Loughty Dube told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the language shows Harare wants to keep the media on a leash.

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