NewsDay | Friday December 17 2021

MISA Zimbabwe@25: Reflections on media law reforms

MISA Zimbabwe's enduring legacy


HE Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) has produced this special publication to commemorate 25 years of
sterling work by its Zimbabwe chapter
in helping to promote access to information, in
defending press freedom and developing a plural media environment to serve the needs of
the public in the region.
While there is still so much to do to advance
this work, the commendable contribution by
the MISA Zimbabwe family in advancing the interests of the larger public deserves to be celebrated.
This work has included the establishment of
a flourishing network of active provincial membership structures to assist in protecting the
media space, lobby against restrictive laws, upgrade skills and in growing the industry.
It has been a case of collective effort by many
people, from the struggles of the founders of
the regional body and successive office holders
in national chapters, to the solidarity secured

from a wide range of structures across professional, community, social, economic and political sectors.
A quarter of a century after the establishment of MISA Zimbabwe, the media world has
changed in many respects, and it continues to
MISA Zimbabwe, as a national chapter and as
a member of the regional collective, needs to
continue playing the role that it has been critically fulfilling over the years: offering strong
thought and inspiring leadership in the implementation of impactful and practical programmes in the information and media sphere.
Other chapters in southern Africa have acknowledged this key contribution by electing
the MISA Zimbabwe National Governing Council (NGC) chairperson, Golden Maunganidze,
and national director, Tabani Moyo, as chairperson MISA Regional Governing Council and director MISA Regional, respectively.
This leadership responsibility means there is a
need to take stock of the past and the present,
and to look ahead to the challenges of the future.

MISA Zimbabwe@25:
the milestones



UR lived reality today in which
Zimbabwe now has private
commercial radio stations and
licensed television stations and
community radio stations, was 25 years
ago deemed inconceivable, if not utopian and risky.
These milestones and notable achievements are grounded through the vision of
the men and women who launched the
regional Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Regional) in 1992 to promote
free, independent, diverse and pluralistic
media as envisaged in the 1991 Windhoek
Declaration on Promoting Free and Independent Media.
The cascading effect of their vision and
foresight gave birth to MISA Zimbabwe
as we know it today as one of the regional chapters of the MISA Regional outfit, 25
years ago.
Today, MISA Zimbabwe has grown to
being the lead media freedom, freedom of
expression and access to information organisation whose footprints and achievements are easily traceable and historically
recorded accordingly.
Constitutional provisions on media freedom, freedom of expression
MISA Zimbabwe was the lead
organisation in pushing for explicit constitutional provisions on freedom of expression, media freedom and citizens right to
access to information.
Through its incessant lobby and
advocacy work in that regard, Zimbabwe’s
2013 Constitution, for the first time since
its replacement of the independence Lancaster House Constitution, now has explicit provisions on freedom of expression,
media freedom and access to information
provided for in terms of Sections 61 & 62
of the Constitution.

Golden Maunganidze
Dismantling of AIPPA
The Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA), enacted in 2002,
had been used to harass, arrest, detain
journalists and media workers as well as
the closure of newspapers such as the
and the Tribune.
Following the closures, MISA Zimbabwe launched the Bring Back the Daily News campaign as part of the spirited
campaigns for the repealing of AIPPA as
a draconian law that impinged on media
freedom, freedom of expression, and ultimately, citizens right to access information through a free, independent and diverse media.
These advocacy and lobby campaigns,
culminated in the dismantling of AIPPA, and enactment of the Freedom of Information Act in July 2020, to give effect
and enforce the enjoyment of citizens
right to access to information as provided
by Section 62 of the Constitution.
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This also means an ability to mobilise resources and skills to tackle these challenges, define
and secure the complementary supporting
roles that the state, the general public, the media, civil society, commerce and industry and
other social forces, need to play in countering
damaging trends threatening the information
and media ecosystem,and working for a better
Besides the usual dark cloud that politics and
monopolies cast on the media and information
environment, the stratospheric rise in misinformation and disinformation, the devastation
of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty
arising from climate change, have compounded
the crisis the world is facing.
This includes Zimbabwe and the Southern African region in which MISA is working.
While we are rightly celebrating yesterday’s
achievements, our major focus today should be
on tomorrow.
The cause is simple and straightforward: to
work for a media and information ecosystem
that serves the greater public interest.

MISA Zimbabwe Board of Trustees
chairperson Cris Chinaka


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