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Cablegate: Independent Journalists Challenge Media

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

UNCLAS HARARE 002243

SIPDIS

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 KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS CHALLENGE MEDIA
CONTROL LAW


1. Journalists working for the privately owned media
in Zimbabwe have filed an urgent application with the
Supreme Court of Zimbabwe to challenge certain
sections of the controversial Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). Lawyers
representing the Independent Journalists Association
of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) describe the Act as a "sudden leap
into autocracy." The legal challenge focuses on those
sections of the Act that require journalists to
register with the government, and that prescribe
penalties (up to two years in prison) for "abuse of
journalistic privilege" and "publishing falsehoods."

2. Under AIPPA, all journalists and privately owned
media organizations are required to register with the
government by October 31, 2002. State-owned media
organizations are exempted from this requirement.
Consensus among the independent media is that the
organizations will register, but individual
journalists will not. This opens the possibility that
journalists working for the privately owned media
could be arrested on November 1. The legal challenge
brought by IJAZ is partially intended to relieve that
threat.

SULLIVAN

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