Zimbabwe Imprisons Would-be Publisher
In response to a Masvingo Magistrate Court in Zimbabwe sentencing journalist Patrick Chitongo to eight months imprisonment for violating the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) by publishing a newspaper, The Southern Mirror, without government permission, Freedom House issued the following statement:
"This conviction is another example of President Mugabe's suppression of freedom of speech," said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. "Zimbabwean citizens have their fundamental human rights stifled as the government tries to control all media.”
Section 72(1) the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) Zimbabwe’s restrictive media law states, “No person shall carry on or operate a mass media service without a valid registration certificate.” Many journalists in Zimbabwe face restrictions in carrying out their duties under this act. Chitongo’s lawyer says Chitonogo was only creating a draft of a new publication to seek government approval and will appeal his conviction.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.