Cablegate: Government Tightens Control Over Media -- New
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001437
DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO ZI
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS CONTROL OVER MEDIA -- NEW
ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS PUBLISHED
1. The government of Zimbabwe has announced the new
registration and accreditation requirements for media
organizations and journalists as prescribed by the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
According to an extraordinary gazette published on June 15,
media organizations are now required to pay an application
fee of Z$20,000 and a registration charge of Z$500,000.
Local journalists working for the local media are now
required to pay an application fee of Z$1,000 and an
accreditation fee of Z$5,000, to allow them to operate in
the country. Local freelance journalists will pay an
application fee of Z$500 and an accreditation fee of
Z$2,500. Local journalists working for the foreign media
will pay an application fee of US$50 and an accreditation
fee of US$1,000. Foreign journalists intending to work
temporarily in Zimbabwe are required to pay US$100 and
another US$500 for accreditation. All foreign media
organizations seeking permission to operate a
representative office in Zimbabwe are now required to pay
an application fee of US$2,000 and another US$10,000 for
permission to operate.
2. The new regulations also require that applications
from media organizations include information about their
business plan. That includes annual balance sheets, profit
and loss statements, cash flow statements, and information
about the organization's financial backers and its leaders'
professional experience. Media organizations will also be
required to pay a levy of 0.5 percent of its audited annual
gross turnover to the Media and Information Fund.
3. In conjunction with other aspects of AIPPA, most
notably its prohibition on "publishing falsehoods" (thus
far applied only to privately owned media), these new
registration procedures strengthen the Government of
Zimbabwe's ability to control the media.
4. Under headline "Media should not be entrapped like the
commercial farmers," the June 15 edition of the independent
daily "The Daily News" carried the following editorial:
".Registering with the registrar of companies is a
legal requirement upon forming a company, so the
requirement under the AIPPA that media companies -
already registered under the Companies Act - should
register again, amount to double registration. If
there is no intent to deny any media organization
registration, why does the Media and Information
Commission not accept registration under the
Companies Act as being valid under the law.? One of
the dilemmas of registering is that it presupposes
an acceptance to subject oneself to AIPPA. Once you
are in you can't get out. It also might imply full
acceptance of the penalties attached thereto. In
fairness to all, the media organizations should seek
a postponement to the Sunday deadline, while the
commission prepares itself for the task."