BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
MEDIA practitioners have expressed shock at the 400% hike in accreditation fees, saying there was no justification for the steep rise.
The new fees were gazetted under Statutory Instrument 65 of 2022 under Access to Information and Protection of Privacy (Registration, Accreditation and Levy) (Amendment) Regulations 2022.
The fees which are effective January 1, 2021 were approved by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa.
A local journalist seeking to be accredited for the first time will pay US$20, while the renewal fee and fine for late renewal are US$15 and US$10 respectively.
Last year the fees for first time accreditation and renewal were Rtgs$500 and Rtgs$600 respectively
The application and accreditation fees for a local journalist working for a foreign media house are US$50 and US$150 respectively, while the renewal of accreditation is US$150.
The application, accreditation and renewal fees for a foreign journalist manning a representative office for a foreign media service are US$50 and US$300.
A foreign journalist seeking temporary accreditation will have to pay US$50 as application fee and US$150 in accreditation fees, while the fee for extension of accreditation period is set at US$50, with productions and projects attracting a fee of US$2 500.
“Media practitioners were shocked by the pegged fees. I have received overwhelming calls for practitioners inquiring why the fees had to be raised,” Media Institute of Southern Africa –Zimbabwe chairperson Golden Maunganidze said.
“There is no justification for the hiked fees. What is worrisome is that they have used AIPPA to gazette the fee when it was repealed. The fees are prohibitive especially for local journalists who are working for foreign media organisations. This is in contrast with the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra when we have laws that appear prohibitive of free access and dissemination of information.”
But Information deputy minister Kindness Paradza said the charges have been pegged in view of the inflation rate.