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(ANS) – As Zimbabwe heads towards elections, the Zanu-PF ruling party continues to silence dissent through repressive legislation. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) requires that all media organisations register with the government-appointed Media and Information Commission and is a tool that enables the Mugabe regime to reduce freedom of speech and control the Press. Several independent newspapers have already been suspended using the AIPPA. The Public Order and Security Act (POSA), another piece of repressive legislation, is used to prevent meetings and activities of any organisation which is critical of Zanu PF. Another restrictive Bill , Zimbabwe ‘s new Non-Governmental Organisations Bill 2004, proceeded through parliament in early December, passing with 48 votes for and 28 against, and now awaits President Mugabe’s signature to be enacted as law. The Daily News ( Harare ) warns: “Just like AIPPA and POSA, if passed into law in its present form, the NGO Bill will be used to shut down the operations of any NGO which the ruling party believes to be a challenge to its hold on power.” (27 Oct 2004)

For the full story, click here: ZIMBABWE: THE NGO BILL AND THE CHURCH