What we do
MISA Zimbabwe’s work is centered on promoting and advocating for the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.
Our work is guided by the Constitution of Zimbabwe and regional and international instruments, among them the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Windhoek Declaration, Banjul Declaration on the Principles of Freedom of Expression, African Charter on Broadcasting and African Platform for Access to Information.
This is primarily achieved through lobbying key stakeholders, notably the Parliament of Zimbabwe through its relevant Portfolio Committees. Other key stakeholders include policy makers, relevant ministries and regulatory bodies.
These include the ministries of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services and that of Information Communication Technologies and regulatory bodies such as the Zimbabwe Media Commission, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe.
MISA Zimbabwe’s lobby and advocacy work is underpinned by its people-centred strategy adopted in 2002.This strategy involves ensuring ordinary Zimbabweans are a part of the policy making processes.
This MISA Zimbabwe does at community level through meetings aimed at raising awareness on citizens’ rights to access to information and free expression through an independent and professional media. MISA Zimbabwe’s civic awareness efforts have enhanced citizens’ participation at community and national level in campaigns to reform the media policy and legislative environment to foster the exercise of freedom of expression and access to information.
Notable achievements in this regard include the mobilisation and participation of citizens in the constitution making process and subsequent Constitutional Referendum in 2013. Zimbabweans overwhelmingly made demands for an explicit guarantee for media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information which are now provided for under Sections 61 & 62 of the constitution.
MISA Zimbabwe also runs a Media Defence Fund through which legal assistance is provided to media practitioners and institutions with the aim of protecting media freedom and freedom of expression. hat caters for litigation and legal assistance for journalists and media houses that find themselves on the confronted with law suits, arrests and violations. Over the years, the fund has assisted journalists by catering for medical bills, support while incarcerated and lawyers fees.
Through this fund, MISA Zimbabwe successfully challenged the constitutionality of criminal defamation at the Constitutional Court. The law was declared unconstitutional in 2015.
MISA Zimbabwe also promotes media professionalism and accountability through training initiatives based on the media’s capacity needs and global trends.
One of MISA Zimbabwe’s key functions is monitoring of media freedom and freedom of expression violations and the issuance of alerts in the event of such violations. The alerts also serve as key advocacy tools in the push for a free, diverse, pluralistic and independent media.