New Misa board must not relax

HARARE - Yesterday, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe Chapter ushered into office a new board which comprises elected members.

The board comes into office as the vice-like grip on the media is being prised open. 

But this is no time to relax.  Despite constitutional provisions for freedom of the media, officials continue to display an openly hostile attitude toward aligning media laws to the new Constitution.

A draconian legislative framework continues to effectively inhibit the activities of journalists and media outlets.

Misa’s vision is of a southern African region in which the media enjoys freedom of expression, independent from political, economic and commercial interests, pluralism of views and options, a region where members of society, individually or collectively are free to express themselves through any media of their choice without hindrance of any kind; a region too, where access to information must be unhindered and where information is readily available.

While we congratulate the Kumbirai Mafunda-led Misa board, we implore it to step up the fight to ensure the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa)  is struck off the statute books. 

Here at the Daily News we were unjustly shuttered in 2003 using this archaic law.

Authorities continue to employ a range of restrictive legislation-including the Official Secrets Act, Aippa, the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Criminal Code which hinder the work of journalists.

The new Misa board should ensure that verbal intimidation, physical attacks, arrest and detention of journalists by the police, government officials, and supporters of the ruling party must stop forthwith.

The new board’s mandate must also extend to State newspapers, where the government, through the Mass Media Trust holding company, controls the Zimpapers newspapers and a radio station.

In general, newspapers have poor distribution networks and there is need to lobby for the expansion of this reach. 

In the same vein, printing expenses have dramatically increased due to soaring prices for newsprint and paper.

This new Misa board must lobby the authorities to address this, and more importantly, the board must help in coaxing State-run companies to advertise in all newspapers.

The board must also ensure broadcasting licences are granted to truly independently-owned radio and TV stations. 

Access to broadcast media in rural areas must also be enhanced.

Indeed, the new board faces a tough task, but we wish them all the best.

Comments (3)

Is the media really a big talking point in Zimbabwe or it's a case of people making a leaving out of 'freeing the media space'mantra? I even wonder what fraction of the Zim populace consider media as critical to their lives.

Watikiritai - 28 July 2014

We are partly happy though that defamation of character was scrapped from the nation statute books. So journalists wake up from your slumber and head on na sekuru Mugabe who is in his nineties , u are not protected. You can now draw cartoons for the President!!!!!!!!!

charles moyo - 31 July 2014

We are partly happy though that defamation of character was scrapped from the nation statute books. So journalists wake up from your slumber and head on na sekuru Mugabe who is in his nineties , u are now protected. You can now draw cartoons for the President!!!!!!!!!

charles moyo - 31 July 2014

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