Zimbabwe committed to upholding right to access to information

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The government of Zimbabwe has been commended for its commitment to upholding the right to access information during the International Day for Universal Access to Information held on Thursday, 28 September 2023
In his remarks during the commemoration, Hon Dr. Jenfan Muswere, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services hailed President Mnangagwa for creating a peaceful environment that has promoted enhanced access to information.

He said since the inception of the Second Republic in 2018, a number of legal reforms have been instituted such as the repealing of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which stifled access and free flow of information.

“As we celebrate the day under the theme, “The importance of the online space for access to information,” it is important for us to embrace rapid transformations that are happening in the communication industry necessitated by the advancement in digital technology. The Government of Zimbabwe has done a lot under the leadership of President E.D. Mnangagwa,” Minister Muswere said.

He cited a number of initiatives including the following:

  • Zimbabwe Media Commission Act.
  • Freedom of Information Act.
  • Cyber and Data Protection Act.
  • The Repeal of Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
  • Development of the New ICT Policy 2022-2025(now awaiting launching) Approved by Cabinet.
  • The National Broadband Plan 2020-2030(to be launched soon) was approved by Cabinet.
  • The Smart Zimbabwe Master Plan –Approved By Cabinet.
  • The opening up of the Media licensing framework for new players.
  • The opening up of the ICT Sector to include the use of satellite technology, MVNO etc. These are all giant steps by H.E. the President in order to ensure that we have universal access to information.


Dr. Muswere said digital technology is making it possible to communicate with multitudes at the click of a button unlike in the past when the only reliable source for news was from mainstream media.

“Today almost everyone is practicing journalism as long as they have a smartphone gadget connected to the internet. The advent of convergence has resulted in an increase in online news outlets as people migrate to online platforms. This has allowed citizens to make informed choices and decisions after accessing vital information that is critical for personal and economic development,” he added.

In its statement for the day, Signs of Hope Trust said access to information is a fundamental human right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The trust said Article 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), among other things, encourages state parties to ensure that persons with disabilities (PWDs) exercise their right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and in a form of communication of their choice.
“We commend the government of Zimbabwe for its commitment to upholding the right to access information (Sections 61 and 62 of the Zimbabwean constitution) by enacting the Freedom of Information Act (2020) which empowers citizens to seek any information from government entities.
“This year, we join stakeholders in reflecting on the importance of the online space for Access to Information and continue to advocate for stakeholder actions that will improve access to the internet for persons with disabilities. The high cost of data, lack of tools and technology that supports participation in digital spaces, inaccessible websites, and the underdevelopment of internet infrastructure in the rural areas where 73% of the population of persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe is based, are among the myriad of challenges that prevent persons with disabilities from accessing the internet on an equal basis with others,” Signs of Hope Trust said.
The trust challenged the government of Zimbabwe to commit to bridging the digital divide, by among other things, using the Universal Services Fund to improve access to ICTs by persons with disabilities and strengthening legislation to ensure web accessibility.
“We reaffirm our commitment to advocating for the right to access to information to be upheld and to sharing credible, accessible information, that will empower persons with disabilities and their organizations. Happy #IDUAI2023,” Signs of Hope Trust added.