ZimbabweÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has promised that his government will re-admit banned newspapers and radio stations in the coming "few" months as it was committed to upholding press freedom and promote free expression, writes our correspondent.
The Prime Minister said the government should immediately process all applications for re-registration and registration of media houses in terms of the Broadcasting Services Act and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Tsvangirai said this while giving his maiden address to Parliament recently.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNo society can prosper without freedom of expression and communication. Those wishing to practice journalism must be able to do so without being prohibited by unnecessary restrictions or exorbitant fees.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œEvidence of this is clear to see in our neighbouring countries where the rights of the people are defended vigorously, where political parties are free to campaign and where there is a healthy choice of radio and television stations and newspapers to choose from.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The Prime Minister said there would be no need for Zimbabwean radio stations to continue being based abroad once an open and free media environment has been achieved.
Zimbabwe has some of the harshest media laws in the world and is ranked one of the worst countries to practice journalism.
Several newspapers including the country's largest circulating private daily – The Daily News and its sister paper – The Daily News On Sunday
– have been banned.
AIPPA requires licensing of both media houses and journalists. In the past, dozens of journalists have been arrested for violating the law.
International news organisations such as the BBC and the CNN are banned from reporting in Zimbabwe.
Under BSA, two private broadcasters have been taken off the airwaves leaving Zimbabweans with no choice but to listen to radio stations run from the diaspora by exiled Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai also said the government will put an end to police brutality, repression and wanton violation of human rights.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œOur citizens have the right to express their views to us their leadership. Therefore, the days of the police wantonly and violently breaking up peaceful demonstrations and gatherings and needlessly imprisoning innocent Zimbabweans must now come to an end," said Tsvangirai.