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Cablegate: Independent Press Criticizes Information Bill

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

060624Z Dec 01


UNCLASSIFIED PTO8003

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AMEMBASSY GABORONE
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UNCLAS HARARE 003638

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AF/PD FOR COX, ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR SCHLACHTER, AF/RA FOR
SWANN, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ZI PREL PHUM
SUBJECT: INDEPENDENT PRESS CRITICIZES INFORMATION BILL


1. THE INDEPENDENT WEEKLY "THE STANDARD" USED ITS
DECEMBER 2 EDITORIAL TO CRITICIZE THE GOVERNMENT OF
ZIMBABWE'S NEW INFORMATION BILL. THE BILL IS NOW AWAITING
CONSIDERATION BY PARLIAMENT. UNDER THE TITLE "INFORMATION
BILL ABSOLUTE MADNESS," THE PAPER COMMENTS:

2. "THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION PROTECTION OF PRIVACY
BILL. . .CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS ONE OF THE MOST
DEVIOUS PIECES OF LEGISLATION CRAFTED IN POST-
INDEPENDENCE ZIMBABWE, AND ONE WHICH SEEKS TO MAKE
CRIMINALS OUT OF OTHERWISE LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS.
INTRODUCED OSTENSIBLY TO GIVE THE PUBLIC THE RIGHT TO
INFORMATION HELD BY PUBLIC BODIES AND TO PROTECT
PERSONAL PRIVACY, THE ALL-EMBRACING BILL. . .WILL HAVE
THE NET EFFECT OF CURTAILING AND INTERFERING WILL ALL
ASPECTS OF A NEWSPAPER'S OPERATIONS. IN ITS PRESENT
FORM, ASPECTS OF THE BILL SEEK TO HAND OVER TO THE
GOVERNMENT POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ARE VESTED
IN THE MANAGEMENT OF A MEDIA ORGANIZATION. . . SHOULD
THE BILL BE PASSED INTO LAW IN ITS PRESENT FORM, THEN
CLEARLY A MAJOR SHOWDOWN IS IN THE MAKING BETWEEN THE
GOVERNMENT AND THE INDEPENDENT PRESS."

SULLIVAN

UNCLASSIFIED

>

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