15 Feb Statutory Instrument 22 of 2021: Background and Explanation
One of the objectives of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) launched by the New Dispensation was the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) [Chapter 10:27]. Stakeholder consultations were held across the country to solicit views on law or laws to replace AIPPA.
What emerged was that AIPPA was going to be replaced by three or four bills dealing with: 1) Access to Information; 2) Establishment of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and its powers and mandate; 3) Data/Privacy protection Bill and 4) a Media Practitioners Bill. The bills were expected to be passed and assented to at the same time.
However, Parliament first passed the Freedom of Information Bill which was signed into law by the President on 1 July 2021. The Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, having sailed through the Senate in November 2020, is yet to be assented to by the President. The Data Protection Bill and the Media Practitioners Bill are yet to be finalized.
These four pieces of legislation were supposed to replace the AIPPA. This being the case, one of the laws had to specifically repeal AIPPA. Therefore, the legislature used Section 41(1) of the Freedom of Information Act to repeal AIPPA.
However, as was deemed necessary by Parliament, Section 41(2) of the Freedom of Information Act retained all Statutory Instruments made under AIPPA, stating that; “All statutory instruments or made under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] shall remain in force as if they had been made under the appropriate provision of this Act and may be amended, replaced or repealed accordingly”.
This provision means that the legislature decided to retain the following Statutory Instruments made under AIPPA as provided for by Section 41(2) of the Freedom of Information Act:
- Statutory Instrument 169C of 2002: Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (Registration, Accreditation and Levy) Regulations 2002.
- Statutory Instrument 10 of 2004: Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (Registration, Accreditation and Levy) (Amendment) Regulations, 2004 (NO.1).
- Statutory Instrument 79 of 2020: Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (Registration, Accreditation and Levy) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (NO. 8).
The above instruments deal with the registration of mass media services and the accreditation of journalists as well as the statutory levy payable by mass media services.
The ZMC, with the approval of the Minister, has amended the fees schedule to Statutory Instrument 169C eight times in respect of fees payable for registration of mass media services and the accreditation of media practitioners. That is the schedule which has been amended through Statutory Instrument 22 of 2021. The last amendment was done in March 2020 under Statutory Instrument 79 of 2020.