….welcomes licensing of new TV stations
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.