( dpa )- Changes to Zimbabwe's press and security regulations that were fast-tracked through Parliament last month are now law, it emerged late Sunday.
Legal watchdog Veritas said that the laws were published Friday as acts of Parliament in an extraordinary government gazette.
The changes to Zimbabwe's notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act make it no longer compulsory for reporters to carry a press card.
But only accredited reporters will be allowed into Parliament and the courts and to cover national events.
The state-appointed Media and Information Commission responsible for shutting down four private newspapers in the last five years will also be reconstituted, and a media council to enforce media ethics will be set up. Independent press watchdogs have dismissed the changes as piecemeal.
Under changes to the Public Order and Security Act, it will now be harder for police to ban rallies and street protests. The amended laws come into force with only two months to go before crunch presidential, parliamentary and local government polls.
The ruling party's political commissar, Elliot Manyika , said this weekend that he was satisfied ZANU-PF would "romp to victory."