Freedom of expression and access to information
This entails analysis of new and existing legislation and policies and how they impact on the exercise of freedom of expression and access to information rights and the monitoring of the enjoyment of the same rights.
As more and more governments, including Zimbabwe, are using legislation, including privacy and national security laws, to gain control over digital spaces and infrastructure, the monitoring conducted under this activity also involves free expression online. Free expression online is about the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas online, without fear or restriction from surveillance, censorship or laws silencing dissent.
Under this programme, MISA-Zimbabwe also conducts research on best practices and the regional and international instruments that promote the aforementioned rights towards the production of comprehensive alternative model laws, statements, fact sheets and position papers which serve as the organisation’s lobby and advocacy tools.
In doing this we are guided by Zimbabwe’s Bill of Rights and fundamentally, Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution which protect the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media and the right to access to information.
Sections 57, 58, 59 and 60 on the rights to privacy, freedom of assembly and association, freedom to demonstrate and petition and freedom of conscience, respectively, are also critical for effective research on existing legislation and monitoring of the freedom of expression and access to information environment.
Further reference is drawn from regional, continental and international instruments on freedom of expression, notably the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Windhoek Declaration, African Charter on Broadcasting, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, African Platform on Access to Information, among others.
The constitutional provisions and the regional, continental and international instruments are the foremost research and monitoring tools used in the production of our publications such as the Africa Media Barometer, So This Is Democracy and Transparency Assessment Report.
These publications are critical in lobbying and pushing for legislative and policy reforms and improvement of the freedom expression and access to information environment using the principles and benchmarks stated in Constitution and the relevant regional and international instruments.