Veritas Media Freedom and Transparency Bill

VERITAS  DRAFT

Media Freedom and Transparency Bill, 2012

Memorandum

This Bill will establish an institutional framework for freedom of expression and a free press in Zimbabwe, and will introduce openness and transparency in both public and private bodies.

Freedom of Expression and Media Freedom

Freedom of expression and of the Press is an essential pillar of any modern democratic society, because citizens must be able to discuss national issues freely, and to read and hear differing opinions.  If a government is not open to scrutiny by a free Press it will become complacent, autocratic and despotic.  At the same time, however, Press freedom must be subject to some restraint in order to protect legitimate interests such as personal privacy, legitimacy and the right to a fair trial.

Zimbabwe is a party to at least two international instruments drawn up in Africa, which emphasise the importance of freedom of expression.  The first is the Declaration on the Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, approved by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in October, 2002, in Banjul, the Gambia.  The second is the SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport, which was signed at Blantyre, Malawi, in August 2002.

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