25 Years On: Reflections on Media Law Reforms

The 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 officeholders 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 change. 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. 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 system. 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.

Access the publication here (1MB PDF)

Source: MISA Zimbabwe

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