In 2018 the new government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in a welcome and progressive
development, reiterated its commitment to undertake comprehensive media law reforms.
Resultantly, and in the context of the ongoing media law reforms, the widely discredited Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) of 2002, was repealed, paving the way for the enactment
of the Freedom of Information Act (2020) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act (2020).
The other proposed law, the Protection of Personal Information Act, has since been shelved.
In addition, a Writeshop was convened for stakeholder input into the Draft Broadcasting Services
Amendment Bill in Gweru. A stakeholders engagement meeting was also convened in Kadoma on the
Zimbabwe Media Practitioners Bill to address the issue of co-regulation of the media as agreed upon and
endorsed by media stakeholders and the government.
The two Bills are still to be gazetted and presented before Parliament.
The repealing of AIPPA was received as a welcome development that would go a long way in entrenching
the enjoyment of media freedom with journalists conducting their lawful professional duties without
hindrance and fear of being unlawfully arrested, assaulted, harassed, or intimidated while on duty.
Under AIPPA, several journalists and media workers were arrested while on duty, and newspapers such as
the Daily News and The Tribune were banned in terms of the draconian law.

Sadly, the country continued to witness cases involving the wanton unlawful arrests, assaults, and
harassment of journalists with impunity, with none of the perpetrators of these media freedom violations
being held accountable or brought to book.
Some of these violations result from the continued existence of a plethora of existing laws that impact on
the exercise of fundamental rights, or newly enacted laws that have claw back provisions that curtail the
enjoyment of freedom of expression and access to information while also instilling media self-censorship.
These laws include, among others, the Interception of Communications Act, the Official Secrets Act, the
Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, provisions of the Cyber and Data Protection Act and the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalise the publication of falsehoods.
A number of journalists were arrested in 2022 and charged for contravening Section 164C of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act as amended through the Cyber and Data Protection Act.


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