Zimbabwean Parliament finds new ways to 'regulate' media

Zimbabwean journalists may now face being slapped with fines.

Picture: WikiCommons.

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwe's Parliament plans to introduce stiff fines for journalists who it says have lied about proceedings.

A top official says the new Constitution no longer allows parliament to jail reporters who are found in contempt, so a different punishment must be imposed.

Journalists breathed a sigh of relief early this month when Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court struck down criminal defamation as a crime.

Until now, it's only been Members of Parliament or government officials who've faced the prospect of a contempt of parliament charge.

Former Central Bank Governor, Gideon Gono was threatened with this charge last year.

The Movement for Democratic Change's Roy Bennett was infamously jailed for contempt of parliament in 2004.

In quotes carried by the state-run Herald, parliamentary speaker Jacob Mudenda says under Zimbabwe's new constitution, the imposition of fines rather than jail terms on journalists is in line with international best practice.