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New deputy minister promises to restore media freedom

(MISA/IFEX) - The newly appointed Media, Information and Publicity Deputy Minister, Jameson Timba, has promised to restore media freedom in Zimbabwe by immediately allowing closed publications to reopen and freeing the airwaves in accordance with Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which states that the government shall ensure the immediate processing by the appropriate authorities of all applications for registration and re-registration under both the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

The "Daily News" independent newspaper and its sister publications, the "Daily News on Sunday" and the "Tribune", were shut down in 2003 and 2004, respectively, for allegedly contravening various provisions of the AIPPA.

Minister Timba described the ministry's mandate as that of embarking on media reforms that would create an open media environment and, in particular, revising existing media legislation in order to promote democracy through freedom of expression and the media. He added that he would look into the issue of banned international news organisations such as the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) and the Cable News Network (CNN).

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