HARARE-- The Zimbabwe government will prioritize reforming media laws in the country, with legislation, including the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), topping the agenda, says the new Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Media, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana.

Zimbabwean media are governed by several pieces of legislation such as AIPPA and the Broadcasting Services Act among others, which have been cited as some of the biggest impediments to the growth

and freedom of the industry in Zimbabwe.

For example, the AIPPA, which was enacted in 2002, among other matters, regulates the right of access to information, the right to request correction of personal information, data protection and protection of personal privacy.

This is despite the fact that in Zimbabwe, freedom of the media is guaranteed by Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution, which protect the right to free of expression, media freedom and access to information. In light of the situation, it becomes imperative to reform the media laws to bring them in sync with the supreme law of the land.

A good friend mentioned something to do with AIPPA. I can confirm that it is on the Government of Zimbabwe agenda to reform the media laws in the Second Republic both AIPPA and BSA (Broadcasting Services Act) are on the agenda, Mangwana said on his twitter handle Tuesday.

Over the years, several journalists have been arrested and some deported for various offenses under different media laws operating in Zimbabwe. However, in 2016, the media fraternity scored a victory after the Constitutional Court struck down a criminal defamation law which had led to the arrest of some journalists in the past.

The Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that journalists who criminally defame people in the discharge of their duties would not be arrested because Section 96 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act criminalizing the act was a dead law.