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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to decide on case challenging certain provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

(MISA/IFEX) - The legal secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) has completed its draft decision in a case brought before it against the Zimbabwean government challenging provisions of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

On 18 November 2008, ACHPR Chief Legal Officer, Dr. Robert Eno, confirmed to MISA-Zimbabwe in Abuja that a draft decision had been arrived at on the merits of the case brought against the government by MISA-Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) that challenged a number of sections of AIPPA. Dr. Eno said the draft decision will now be submitted to the ACHPR for its consideration, pending a final decision in the matter. Details of the decision will only be known when the Commission makes its final decision.

MISA-Zimbabwe, ZLHR and IJAZ allege that provisions requiring registration and accreditation of the media sector by the state-appointed Media and Information Commission are inconsistent with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

Other cases before the Commission include that of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the banned "Daily News" and "Daily News on Sunday"; Capital Radio; and that of Andrew Meldrum.

Dr Eno said the state had filed its submissions on the merits of the ANZ case but had yet to file similar papers in the Meldrum case. He said that the state had not yet filed its arguments on admissibility in the matter brought by MISA-Zimbabwe, Capital Radio Pvt Limited and Article 19 challenging the inconsistencies in certain sections of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) with Article 9 of the African Charter.

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