20 Apr ZIMBABWE MEDIA COMMISSION ACT BECOMES LAW
The Zimbabwe Media Commission Act No. 9 of 2020 [Chapter 10:35] was assented to by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and subsequently gazetted on Friday, 2 April 2021. The promulgation of the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act follows the Freedom of Information Act which became law on 1 July 2020.
The Freedom of Information Act repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The repeal of AIPPA was expected to see both the Freedom of Information Act and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act coming into law at the same time. However, this has not been the case.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) welcomes the coming into law of the ZMC Act as it operationalises those provisions of the Constitution that enable the Commission to carry out its mandate and come up with the necessary regulations for the media sector.
The ZMC Act provides for the functions of the Commission and the manner in which the Commission exercises those functions. The Act also provides for investigations and hearing procedures based on complaints received from members of the public.
The ZMC can institute an investigation either upon receiving a complaint or when it believes that a breach of freedom of the media or abuse of freedom of expression has been committed.
The Act establishes a Media Fund whose objectives include the following:
- Capacity building of mass media services to maintain high standards of quality in the provision of services;
- To assist in the training of persons in the provision of media services:
- To promote and contribute towards research and development in the field of media services; and
- To promote public awareness on the right of access to information and protection of privacy.
Every mass media service is required to pay an annual levy as prescribed by the Commission. Currently, levy payable is prescribed by Statutory Instrument No. 10 of 2004 which was retained when AIPPA was repealed.
With the Act now law, the ZMC will soon make regulations to operationalise provisions of the Act.