Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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WPFD: Misa calls for co-regulation of the press

 

Golden Maunganidze

….welcomes
licensing of new TV stations

Veeslee Mhepo

The
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe today marked the 2021 World
Press Freedom Day (WPFD) by calling for a move towards co-regulation of the
press which would enable greater freedom of the media.

This
year’s WPFD, which is being commemorated under the theme ‘Information as a Public
Good’, coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on
promoting an independent and pluralistic press.

In
a statement, Misa Zimbabwe national chairperson Golden Maunganidze said much
needed to be done to ensure seamless freedom of the press.

Maunganidze
said the envisaged Zimbabwe Media Practitioners Bill should give effect to co-regulation
of the media in Zimbabwe

“We
commend the government and parliament for allowing the media to take the lead
in the drafting of the Zimbabwe Media Practitioners Bill which should give
effect to co-regulation of the media in Zimbabwe, with the Zimbabwe Media
Commission acting as an appellant body,” he said.

He
said Misa noted some changes on the media landscape, and appreciated the new information
law and licensing of TV and radio stations.

“We
note that commendable steps were taken to give effect to the enjoyment of the
right to freedom of information through the enactment of the Freedom of
Information Act in 2020 in place of the widely discredited Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

“The
new information law is a progressive step towards fostering citizens’ right to
access to information. Other commendable developments include the licensing of
the country’s first ever community radio stations and ‘private’ commercial
television stations,” said Maunganidze.

He
said any form of regulation of the internet create safe online spaces for the
exercise and enjoyment of rights to freedom of press.

“The
Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill is strong on surveillance of citizens
and weak on balancing cybersecurity with the enjoyment of fundamental rights
such as free expression online, privacy and protection of personal data

“Any
form of regulation of the internet should be aimed at creating safe online
spaces for the exercise and enjoyment of rights as opposed to criminalization
of online communication under the guise of dealing with internet abuse,”
said Maunganidze.

Maunganidze
said the 30th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration was a
momentous occasion for Zimbabwe, the Southern African region, and the entire
African continent.

“For
us as Misa Zimbabwe, and the entire regional Misa family, the Declaration is
our inspirational tool, and the very foundation upon which our vision, mission
and values are anchored,” said Maunganidze.

 

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