Freedom Of Expression Under Threat: Human Rights Lawyer

As AIPPA and POSA Still in Force

Four years after the adoption of a new constitution in Zimbabwe, freedom of expression is still under threat as draconian laws such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order and Security Act (POSA) have not been repealed, a human rights lawyer, Brian Kagoro has said.

By Jeoffrey Ncube

Speaking at a Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (ATI) meeting in Harare on Wednesday, Brian Kagoro, a human rights lawyer urged journalists to shun factionalism stories and focus on issues of national interest.

“We are stuck between what the biblical text calls new wine and old wine skins, the expression of any law, the life it is given is depended on the vehicles and instruments that are implemented, so the orientation of journalists is to focus on issues of national interest  and development stories.

“There have been reports of arrests of many reporters when they were reporting about protests in Harare my question is now what is the use of the new constitution that allows to have freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” said Kagoro.

He urged authorities to respect the privacy of journalists and other people since it is everyone’s constitutional right.

“The right of every person’s privacy includes their home, premises or properties not to be entered without their permission, their possessions cannot be seized including their cameras and note pads, the privacy of their communications including WhatsApp, email and many more cannot be infringed or anyone’s health condition to be disclosed .

“And you can see how the private media which likes to disclose HIV status of certain public officials who differ with certain people is in violation of the constitution and lm not sure if the disclosure of someone’s cancer status in not in violation of this constitution,” said Kagoro.

Focusing on the 2018 harmonized elections, he said Zimbabweans have the freedom of expression and association.

“Article 58 promotes the freedom of expression and association which means the freedom to assemble and not to assemble so you cannot be forced to attend a meeting whether addressed by the leader of the opposition or ruling party.

“Now this happens every day and it’s a constant violation whether it’s a school child or an adult or it’s a villager who is being forced to a meeting or a shop which is being closed sometimes when there are rallies people are being asked to close the shops, this is a violation of the constitution,” he said.

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