Zimbabwean authorities have put together a new Board of Censors which aims to regulate the media and film industries in the digital era. The Board was appointed by Zimbabwe's Minister of Home Affairs, Ignatius Chombo, n accordance with the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act.
Among those appointed to the Board of Censors is President Robert Mugabe's daughter, Bona Chikore.
However, the announcement by Chombo hasn't gone unnoticed with Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe) coming out to say that the determination of what is indecent and offensive is not clearly defined and that leaves it open to interpretation giving the Board too much power.
Chombo explained the decision to appoint the Board, he said that while the Zimbabwe's Constitution provides for free artistic expression, cultural beliefs and association, it was in the same vein, the board's constitutional responsibility to ensure these same freedoms are reasonably limited to curb infringement of other people's rights.
MISA-Zimbabwe disagree, "while the minister said the new board had been entrusted with safeguarding people's rights and trusts, this can only be achieved by amending or repealing offensive sections of the Act which are inconsistent with the country's 2013 Constitution." the organization said in a statement.
The organization which advocates for press freedom argues that there are several objectionable provisions which leave the Board with "wide and unfettered discretion on what is undesirable as provided for under Section 14".
In return, MISA-Zimbabwe suggests that the Board's powers should be narrowed to at least match the limitations that are spelt out in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
It is also important to note that this all happening leadung up to the 2018 presidential elections in Zimbabwe. It is worrying given previous pronouncements by Zimbabwe's givernment regarding blocking the Internet.