safety of journalists in southern Africa
2008 – 2012 marked by restrictive legislation,
threats and obstructions to general freedom of

Attacks on media workers on the rise from

MISA is gravely concerned about the physical attacks on journalists and
Between 2008 and 2012, MISA reported the most significant number other media workers reported in 2012 and 2013.
of violations in the SADC region in the categories of legislation (130
In the 2011 edition of So this is Democracy?, we reported that physical
reported incidents), threats (146 threats against media workers), and
attacks on journalists were in decline, with more subtle forms of attack
‘other’ (214 incidents reported).
and intimidation at play, so it has been distressing to see such attacks
Violations classified as ‘other’ make up 28% of the violations recorded occurring in 2012 and 2013, which have included the brutal assault of
between 2008 and 2012 and shows relatively consistently high numbers senior editor, Absalom Kibanda in Tanzania and murder of a prominent
journalist, Daudi Mwangosi, also in Tanzania.
of reports throughout the period.
MISA has reported on 3 deaths over the past five years. While the number
of deaths due to media attacks might be considered low in comparison
to global statistics, MISA asserts that any murder is unacceptable,
and while the number of threats fluctuates over the years, they are
consistently at worrying levels, with an average of 29 threats reported
Therefore, the high level of reports in this category indicate SADC each year in the five-year period.
countries have much to do to create environments conducive to media
freedom and freedom of expression for their media workers and for all
their citizens.
The ‘other’ category refers to incidents affecting freedom of expression
or speech in general and not necessarily impacting only media workers,
for example a charge of sedition against a member of the public or
incidents involving access to the public media.

The need to improve the media operating environment in the SADC
region is further emphasised in results of the African Media Barometer
(AMB), an annual self-assessment exercise that provides an in-depth
and comprehensive description and measurement system for national
media environments on the African continent. The AMB is a joint project
between MISA and Fesmedia.
Over the past five years, the average of the overall country scores
for participating countries from the southern Africa region, although
increasing from 2.38 in 2008 to 2.56 out of a possible 5 in 2012, still
places the region in the barometer’s category of countries who “meet
only a few aspects of indicators”.


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