AIPPA passed


0

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act was finally passed after three weeks if haggling between Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Parliamentary Legal Committee Chairman Eddison Zvobgo.

Zvobgo had argued that the bill was unconstitutional and had issued an adverse report on it and refused to appear in Parliament to present the report.

After two weeks behind the scenes Zvobgo and Chinamasa finally agreed after amendments to 50 out of the 103 clauses.

The Movement for Democratic Change did not contest the passage of the bill.

Media organisations said the amendments were insignificant.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE345, ZIMBABWE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT PLACES

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE345

2002-02-07 14:27

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

071427Z Feb 02

 

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7051

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00345 01 OF 04 071444Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 AS-01   CIAE-00 DODE-00

DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00

H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

SWCI-00   /010W

——————6380D7 071445Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0896

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 000345

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT PLACES

INDEPENDENT PRESS UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

 

 

CLASSIFIED BY POLITICAL OFFICER TODD FAULK FOR REASONS:

1.5 (B) AND (D).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: ON JANUARY 31, THE PARLIAMENT OF

ZIMBABWE PASSED THE DECEPTIVELY-NAMED ACCESS TO

INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT AFTER THREE

WEEKS OF DEBATE. THE ACT, WHICH HAS YET TO BE SIGNED BY

THE PRESIDENT AND GAZETTED INTO LAW, ESSENTIALLY PLACES

ZIMBABWE’S INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA COMPANIES

UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL AND RESTRICTS THE OPERATION OF

FOREIGN JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE. AFTER THE

PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE (PLC) ISSUED AN ADVERSE

REPORT ON THE BILL, ABOUT HALF OF THE ORIGINAL BILL’S

CLAUSES WERE AMENDED IN BEHIND-THE-SCENES WRANGLING

BETWEEN JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK CHINAMASA AND PLC

CHAIRMAN EDDISON ZVOBGO. MEDIA WATCHER ORGANIZATIONS

CALLED THE CHANGES “INSIGNIFICANT” AND SAID THE FINAL

VERSION OF THE ACT IS STILL REPRESSIVE. PRESIDENT

MUGABE MAY DELAY IMPLEMENTING THE ACT TO AVOID FURTHER

RECRIMINATIONS FROM WESTERN COUNTRIES PLANNING TO SEND

ELECTION OBSERVERS. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————————-

CONTENTIOUS DEBATE ON CONTROVERSIAL BILL

—————————————-

 

2. (C) ON JANUARY 31, THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE PASSED

THE DISINGENUOUSLY-NAMED ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND

PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT AFTER THREE WEEKS OF DEBATE

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00345 01 OF 04 071444Z

AND UNEXPECTED DELAY. MOST OF THE CONTENTION IN

PARLIAMENT OCCURRED NOT BETWEEN THE RULING ZANU-PF AND

MDC, BUT BETWEEN MEMBERS OF ZANU-PF. THE TROUBLE BEGAN

WHEN ZANU-PF MP AND CHAIRMAN OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL

COMMITTEE (PLC) EDDISON ZVOBGO FOUND THE INFORMATION

BILL UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND ISSUED AN ADVERSE REPORT ON IT

IN EARLY JANUARY. ZANU-PF LIKELY INTENDED TO IGNORE THE

REPORT, AS IT HAS DONE WITH OTHER UNFAVORABLE ONES, AND

RUSH THE BILL THROUGH. HOWEVER, WHEN ZVOBGO REPEATEDLY

REFUSED TO APPEAR IN PARLIAMENT TO PRESENT THE REPORT, A

REQUIREMENT FOR THE BILL TO PROCEED, ZANU-PF FOUND

ITSELF STUCK. JUSTICE MINISTER PATRICK CHINAMASA (AND

LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY) APPROACHED ZVOBGO ON

WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO GET THE BILL THROUGH. THIS

RESULTED IN NEARLY TWO WEEKS OF BEHIND-THE-SCENES

NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN CHINAMASA AND THE PLC. INFORMATION

MINISTER JONATHAN MOYO, AUTHOR OF THE BILL AND MUCH

DESPISED IN HIS OWN PARTY, WAS VISIBLY EMBARRASSED. ON

THE NIGHT OF THE BILL’S PASSAGE, CHINAMASA REPORTEDLY

REBUFFED MOYO ON THE HOUSE FLOOR, MUCH TO THE AMUSEMENT

OF THE MDC MEMBERS. THE BILL FINALLY RECEIVED THE PLC’S

ASSENT WITH 50 OUT OF 103 CLAUSES AMENDED OR DELETED;

THE MDC DID NOT CONTEST ITS PASSAGE.

 

—————————

AMENDMENTS ARE MOSTLY MINOR

—————————

 

3. (C) MOST OF THE AMENDMENTS WRITTEN INTO THE ACT BY

THE PLC ARE RELATIVELY MINOR OR COSMETIC. ONE OF THE

MORE SIGNIFICANT IS A PROVISION FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00345 01 OF 04 071444Z

JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA HOUSES TO NOMINATE AT LEAST THREE

MEMBERS TO THE MEDIA AND INFORMATION COMMISSION THAT

WILL BE REGULATE JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS.

PREVIOUSLY, THE INFORMATION MINISTER WOULD HAVE

APPOINTED ALL FIVE TO SEVEN MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.

SOME OF THE OTHER CHANGES:

 

— FOREIGN INVESTORS WILL BE PERMITTED TO OWN MINORITY

SHARES OF ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS RATHER THAN

BEING BANNED ALTOGETHER. HOWEVER, THIS CLAUSE IS NOT

RETROACTIVE, AND OWNERSHIP OF MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS AS OF

JANUARY 31, 2002 WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO CHANGE.

 

— ALL JOURNALISTS WITH PRESS CREDENTIALS BEFORE THE ACT

IS GAZETTED WILL BE DEEMED REGISTERED WITH THE

COMMISSION UNTIL THE END OF 2002 INSTEAD OF BEING

REQUIRED TO REGISTER WITHIN THREE MONTHS OF THE ACT’S

GAZETTING.

 

— DISPUTES OVER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE BILL WILL BE

REFERRED TO THE COURTS RATHER THAN THE INFORMATION

MINISTER.

 

— FOREIGN JOURNALISTS MAY APPLY TO WORK IN ZIMBABWE FOR

“A LIMITED PERIOD” RATHER THAN “A FEW DAYS.”

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7054

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00345 02 OF 04 071444Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 AS-01   CIAE-00 INL-00

DODE-00 DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00

OIGO-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01

L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   DCP-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00

STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02

G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00   SWCI-00   /011W

——————6380E0 071445Z /38

P 071427Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0897

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 04 HARARE 000345

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT PLACES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00345 02 OF 04 071444Z

INDEPENDENT PRESS UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

 

ZIMBABWEAN JOURNALISTS MAY NOW REPORT FOR INTERNATIONAL

MEDIA, IN ADDITION TO THEIR ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA EMPLOYER,

PROVIDED THEY HAVE THE PERMISSION OF THE EMPLOYER.

 

— MAXIMUM FINES FOR MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS IN VIOLATION OF

THE ACT WERE REDUCED FROM $Z 1 MILLION (US$3,300) TO

Z$300,000 (US$1,000).

 

——————————————— —

ACT PLACES NUMEROUS GOVERNMENT CONTROLS ON MEDIA

——————————————— —

 

4. (SBU) THE ACT, WHICH HAS YET TO BE SIGNED BY THE

PRESIDENT AND GAZETTED INTO LAW, STILL PLACES ZIMBABWE’S

JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA COMPANIES UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

AND RESTRICTS THE OPERATION OF FOREIGN JOURNALISTS AND

MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE DESPITE THE AMENDMENTS. THE ACT IS

DIVIDED INTO 13 PARTS, WHICH ARE SUBDIVIDED INTO A TOTAL

OF 94 SECTIONS. BELOW IS A SUMMARY OF THE SUBSTANTIAL

PARTS:

 

— PART 2: RESTRICTS RIGHT TO ACCESS ANY RECORD OR

PERSONAL INFORMATION TO CITIZENS OR PERMANENT RESIDENTS

OF ZIMBABWE AND MASS MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS REGISTERED

UNDER THE ACT.

 

— PART 3: INFORMATION NOT RELEASABLE TO ANY APPLICANT:

THE DELIBERATIONS OF CABINET OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES,

ADVICE GIVEN TO THE PRESIDENT, INFORMATION THAT MAY

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00345 02 OF 04 071444Z

COMPROMISE A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OR NATIONAL

SECURITY. A PUBLIC BODY MAY REFUSE TO RELEASE

INFORMATION RELATED TO INTER-GOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS,

PUBLIC BODY FINANCES, THE ECONOMIC INTERESTS OF THE

STATE, OR THE BUSINESS INTERESTS OF A THIRD PARTY.

 

— PART 5: A PUBLIC BODY MAY COLLECT PERSONAL

INFORMATION IF IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF: NATIONAL

SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH, THE ACTIVITY

OF THE PUBLIC BODY, OR THE FORMULATION OF PUBLIC POLICY.

 

————————-

MEDIA COMMISSION AND FUND

————————-

 

— PART 7: ESTABLISHES A MEDIA AND INFORMATION

COMMISSION THAT SHALL, AMONG OTHER THINGS, RECEIVE AND

ACT UPON COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ON THE PERFORMANCE OF

MASS MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE, ACCREDIT JOURNALISTS, ENFORCE

PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL STANDARDS OF THE MASS MEDIA,

REGISTER MASS MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS, AND CONDUCT

INVESTIGATIONS OF MASS MEDIA OUTLETS TO ENSURE

COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT. THE COMMISSION SHALL BE

CONTROLLED BY A BOARD OF AT LEAST FIVE AND NOT MORE THAN

SEVEN MEMBERS APPOINTED BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION.

AT LEAST THREE OF THE MEMBERS WILL BE SELECTED FROM

NOMINEES PROVIDED BY ASSOCIATIONS OF JOURNALISTS AND

MASS MEDIA OUTLETS. (COMMENT: THE LANGUAGE OF THE ACT

IS NOT CLEAR ON THE LATTER POINT AND LEAVES OPEN THE

POSSIBILITY, IN A LEGAL CHALLENGE, THAT THE ASSOCIATION

OF JOURNALISTS AND THE ASSOCIATION OF MASS MEDIA OUTLETS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00345 02 OF 04 071444Z

COULD EACH SUBMIT THREE NOMINATIONS FOR A TOTAL OF SIX.

END COMMENT.)

 

— PART 8: ESTABLISHES A MEDIA AND INFORMATION FUND THAT

WILL “STANDARDIZE MASS MEDIA SERVICES” AND ASSIST IN THE

TRAINING OF PERSONS IN MASS MEDIA. EVERY MASS MEDIA

OWNER, EXCEPT BROADCASTING LICENSEES (I.E. THE

GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING

CORPORATION), SHALL PAY AN ANNUAL LEVY TO THE FUND.

THOSE FAILING TO PAY WITHIN SEVEN DAYS OF THE DUE DATE

PRESCRIBED BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION SHALL HAVE THE

LEVY DOUBLED AND MAY GO TO A COURT TO RECOVER THE LEVY.

 

— PARTS 9 AND 10: THE COMMISSION SHALL HAVE THE

AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS, AUDITS OR

INQUIRIES, ISSUE SUMMONS, AND REQUIRE THAT A PUBLIC BODY

PRODUCE ANY RECORD, INCLUDING PERSONAL INFORMATION, IN

THE COURSE OF ITS INVESTIGATIONS. THE COMMISSION MAY

DECIDE ALL QUESTIONS OF FACT AND LAW ARISING FROM AN

INQUIRY AND ISSUE ORDERS BASED ON ITS FINDINGS. ANY

PERSON AGGRIEVED BY A COMMISSION DECISION MAY APPEAL TO

AN ADMINISTRATIVE COURT.

 

—————————–

CONTROL OF MASS MEDIA OUTLETS

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7052

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00345 03 OF 04 071445Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 AS-01   CIAE-00 DODE-00

DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00

H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

SWCI-00   /010W

——————6380ED 071445Z /38

P 071427Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0898

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 04 HARARE 000345

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT PLACES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00345 03 OF 04 071445Z

INDEPENDENT PRESS UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

 

—————————–

 

— PART 11: ANY PERSON ACCREDITED TO A REGISTERED MEDIA

OUTLET WHO “ABUSES THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” BY

CONTRAVENING THE ACT OR “KNOWINGLY PUBLISHING A FALSE

RECORD OF PERSONAL INFORMATION” (I.E. SLANDER) SHALL BE

SUBJECT TO A FINE OF Z$100,000 (US$330) OR TWO YEARS

IMPRISONMENT. ONLY ZIMBABWEAN CITIZENS, PERMANENT

RESIDENTS, OR CORPORATE BODIES CONTROLLED BY ZIMBABWEAN

CITIZENS OR PERMANENT RESIDENTS MAY BE MASS MEDIA

OWNERS. EXISTING MASS MEDIA OWNERS AS OF JANUARY 31,

2002 ARE EXEMPTED FROM THE OWNERSHIP PROVISO. A MASS

MEDIA OWNER MUST REGISTER WITH THE COMMISSION WITHIN

THREE MONTHS OF THE ACT GOING INTO EFFECT (I.E. ITS

PUBLICATION IN THE GOVERNMENT GAZETTE); THE

REGISTRATION, IF APPROVED, WILL BE VALID FOR TWO YEARS.

THE MASS MEDIA SERVICE MUST NOTIFY THE COMMISSION IF:

ITS OWNERSHIP CHANGES, ITS NAME OR FREQUENCY OF

DISSEMINATION CHANGES, THE AREA WHERE ITS PRODUCTS ARE

CIRCULATED CHANGES, OR ITS EDITORIAL OFFICE CHANGES

LOCATION. REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES MAY BE SUSPENDED OR

CANCELLED FOR, AMONG OTHER THINGS, EMPLOYING

UNACCREDITED JOURNALISTS. A PERSON OPERATING A MASS

MEDIA SERVICE OR NEWS AGENCY WITHOUT VALID REGISTRATION

IS LIABLE TO A FINE OF Z$300,000 (US$1,000) AND/OR TWO

YEARS IMPRISONMENT.

 

———————-

CONTROL OF JOURNALISTS

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00345 03 OF 04 071445Z

———————-

 

— PART 12: NO JOURNALIST SHALL OPERATE WITHOUT BEING

ACCREDITED BY THE COMMISSION. ONLY CITIZENS OR

PERMANENT RESIDENTS MAY BE ACCREDITED (FOR ONE YEAR).

NONCITIZENS OR NON-PERMANENT RESIDENTS MAY BE ACCREDITED

FOR “A LIMITED PERIOD,” (PRESUMABLY LESS THAN ONE YEAR).

EVERY NEWS AGENCY THAT OPERATES IN ZIMBABWE SHALL EMPLOY

ONLY ACCREDITED JOURNALISTS AS STIPULATED ABOVE FOR ITS

ZIMBABWEAN OPERATIONS. THE FALSIFICATION OR FABRICATION

OF INFORMATION OR THE PUBLISHING OF “FALSEHOODS” SHALL

CONSTITUTE AN “ABUSE OF JOURNALISTIC PRIVILEGE” AND BE

SUBJECT TO A FINE OF Z$100,000 (US$330) OR TWO YEARS

IMPRISONMENT. THE COMMISSION SHALL, IN CONJUNCTION WITH

ORGANIZATIONS IT DEEMS REPRESENTATIVE OF JOURNALISTS,

DEVELOP A CODE OF CONDUCT GOVERNING JOURNALISTS AND

SHALL ENFORCE THAT CODE OF CONDUCT. FOREIGN MASS MEDIA

SERVICES MAY NOT ESTABLISH A REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN

ZIMBABWE WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE COMMISSION.

 

PART 13: THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION MAY ISSUE

REGULATIONS GOVERNING, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE

APPLICATIONS FOR REGISTRATION, THE MANNER IN WHICH

COMPLAINTS AGAINST MASS MEDIA SERVICES AND JOURNALISTS

ARE DEALT WITH, THE AMOUNTS OF LEVIES PAID TO THE FUND

AND THE MANNER IN WHICH MONEY RAISED MAY BE INVESTED,

THE AMOUNT OF ACCREDITATION AND REGISTRATION FEES, AND

THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS.

 

——————–

ACT WIDELY CONDEMNED

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00345 03 OF 04 071445Z

——————–

 

5. (SBU) IN A FEBRUARY 1 PUBLIC STATEMENT, THE MEDIA

INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (MISA) CONDEMNED THE

INFORMATION ACT AND OBJECTED TO THE “STRINGENT

ACCREDITATION REGULATIONS” AND THE PUNITIVE MEASURES

THAT WOULD BE METED OUT TO VIOLATORS. MISA STATED THAT

THE PASSED BILL “RETAINS ITS LIMITATIONS ON INFORMATION

THAT CAN BE ACCESSED BY JOURNALISTS AND ORDINARY MEMBERS

OF THE PUBLIC,” WHILE THERE IS “NO BINDING OBLIGATION”

ON PUBLIC OFFICIALS TO RELEASE INFORMATION. THE GLOBAL

CAMPAIGN FOR FREE EXPRESSION SAID THE SYSTEM OF

REGISTRATION FOR MASS MEDIA OUTLETS, AS OVERSEEN BY THE

COMMISSION, IS “CLEARLY SUBJECT TO POLITICAL

INTERFERENCE.” RESTRICTIONS ON JOURNALISTS ARE “A CLEAR

BREACH OF THE GUARANTEE OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.”

ZIMBABWE LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (ZLHR) PUBLICLY STATED

THAT “CONTRARY TO ITS TITLE, THE (ACT) … SEEKS TO

MUZZLE THE PRESS AND AT THE SAME TIME UNDERMINE THE

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND ACCESS CONTAINED IN

… THE CONSTITUTION. … THE MEDIA AND INFORMATION

COMMISSION … HAS NO INDEPENDENT SECURITY OF TENURE AND

DESPITE BEING PAID FOR BY PUBLIC FUNDS WILL RUN ERRANDS

FOR THE MINISTER (OF INFORMATION).”

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ7053

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00345 04 OF 04 071445Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 AS-01   CIAE-00 DODE-00

DOEE-00 WHA-00   SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   VC-00

H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00

AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00

PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SP-00   STR-00   TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-00  DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

SWCI-00   /010W

——————6380EF 071445Z /38

P 071427Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0899

INFO NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY OTTAWA

AMEMBASSY KINGSTON

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 04 OF 04 HARARE 000345

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

PARIS FOR CHARLES NEARY

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/12

TAGS: PGOV PHUM ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT PLACES

CONFIDENTIAL

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00345 04 OF 04 071445Z

INDEPENDENT PRESS UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL

 

————————————–

COMMENT: NO HURRY TO IMPLEMENT THE ACT

————————————–

 

6. (C) AN ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2 EDITION OF THE

GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED “THE HERALD” HINTED THAT THE ACT

MAY NOT BE IMPLEMENTED BEFORE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

BECAUSE OF CONCERNS OVER “LAST-MINUTE AMENDMENTS” MADE

TO THE BILL. IN ACTUALITY, THE GOZ MAY NOT SEE THE BILL

AS PRESSING, SINCE MANY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT

PROVISIONS, SUCH AS THE REGISTRATION OF MEDIA HOUSES,

WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE FOR THREE MORE MONTHS. MUGABE MAY

BE HOLDING OFF ON SIGNING THE ACT TO GIVE THE EU AND

OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES PAUSE IN THEIR CONSIDERATION FOR

SANCTIONS. END COMMENT.

 

SULLIVAN

 

CONFIDENTIAL

 

>

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The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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