Zimbabwe should abolish its Censorship Act and any prior-censorship bodies or systems, according to a joint stakeholder submission to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) by Freemuse and Nhimbe – two civil society organisations defending artistic freedom in Zimbabwe and globally. Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution guarantees the right to freedom of artistic expression. However, several laws significantly limit artistic freedom, and practices of the police and government agencies create an environment of fear and self-censorship. The new report was filed ahead of Zimbabwe’s second cycle Universal Periodic Review – the UN system’s official mechanism for reviewing all member states human rights records in cycles of four and a half years – that will take place on 2 November 2016 in Geneva.
Freemuse has held Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2012 and has previously submitted UPR stakeholder reports on artistic freedom in Belarus, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey and the United States.