Tuesday, January 25, 2005
On January 7, a new law entitled the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act went into effect in Zimbabwe. Together with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which was passed in 2002, it allows the government to prosecute journalists caught working without government permission. Zimbabwe's Media and Information Commission oversees the independent media in the country. Article 19, an NGO registered as a charity in the UK, has released a report on the AIPPA. The report begins, "The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, commonly referred to as AIPPA, was passed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe on 31 January 2002 and signed into law by President Mugabe on 15 March 2002. It may accurately be described as the leading weapon of the government and the ruling ZANU PF party in their ongoing campaign to stifle independent media reporting in Zimbabwe." Zimbabwe's next general elections are scheduled for March of this year.