Govt sets stage for AIPPA amendment, law to be realigned with constitution

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has begun the process of dismantling one of former President Robert Mugabe’s relics of oppression with plans to both amend and realign with the country’s constitution, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

In a statement Wednesday, the information ministry headed by Monica Mutsvangwa, invited media houses and interest groups to a five-day stakeholders conference in Harare to discuss possible adjustments to a law blamed for shrinking the media space.

The consultations, which begin November 26 ending on the last day of the month, are set for Compensation House within the CBD.

Stakeholders are set to input towards positive changes to the dreaded law.

The indaba will bring together broadcasters, print media, advertising companies and related stakeholders.

Mugabe, who was overthrown in a military coup November last year, is accused of using the repressive law to clamp down on dissent.

AIPPA was enacted in 2001 with exiled former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo viewed as the architect of a law that was used to shut down newspapers seen as too critical of Mugabe’s rule.

Together with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the laws were regarded as twin evils of Mugabe’s dictatorship.

Since taking over as the country’s number one, President Mnangagwa has pledged to free up democratic space including changes to laws that have been viewed as too repressive for he country.

Minister Mutsvangwa recently revealed government could open up space for private television broadcasters in will also see the state broadcaster running six television stations under its stable.

Speaking at a launch ceremony of a business publication earlier this year, then acting information minister Simon Khaya Moyo said President Mnangagwa administration was committed to implementing media reforms.

“Let me assure our media practitioners that government is committed to implementing necessary reforms in their industry that will help propel Zimbabwe into the developed economy and society we want it to be in the next decade…,” Moyo said.

“Government wants to see our citizens enjoying all modern media products irrespective of their environments, and to fully enjoy their freedom to access information through all available platforms, a matter guaranteed by the constitution.”

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has led the push for the scrapping of the law that has often been described as archaic.