THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe) has said there is an urgent need to amend all existing legislation that restrict media freedom, freedom of expression and citizens’ right to access to information.
In a statement on Africa Day, Misa-Zimbabwe chairperson Njabulo Ncube said the government must fulfil its obligations in line with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
“There is an urgent need to amend all existing legislation that restrict media freedom, freedom of expression and citizens’ right to access to information.
“The government must fulfil its State obligations in line with the African Charter on Human and People’s Right and in undertaking this fundamental role, it should be guided by Article 9 of the African Charter and the Banjul Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression to secure citizens’ rights provided for under the new Constitution,” Ncube said.
Ncube said laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act, Interception of Communications Act and the Official Secrets Act must be replaced by a new democratic media legislative regime.
He said the use of the Banjul Declaration and the African Platform on Access to Information Declaration that imposes the obligation on State parties to enact enforceable and binding legislation would enable citizens to enjoy the right to access to information.
“As the government embarks on the realignment of the country’s laws with the new Constitution, it must be guided by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information to decriminalise free speech,” he added.