Issues we address

Access to information

It is your fundamental human right to ask for, and receive, information held by public organisations and bodies. It is critically important to make sure information held by public, and in some cases private, institutions is available and accessible to citizens.

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Free expression & the law

The right to express oneself is a fundamental human right outlined in International Law. However, most societies would agree there are types of expression that are not acceptable and which conflict with other human rights, such as promoting hate speech.

For this reason, Governments use laws to limit freedom of expression if it conflicts with other human rights, such as the protection of the rights or reputations of others, national security, public order, public health and morals. Unfortunately, governments, private institutions and individuals around the world can abuse such limitations, using legislation and the judicial system unjustly to control expression and quash opposing views.

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Free expression online

Free expression online refers to your right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas online, without fear or restriction from surveillance, censorship or laws silencing dissent.

As people turn to digital environments as a way of expressing views they may not feel safe expressing through other channels, more and more governments are using legislation, including privacy and national security laws, to gain control over digital spaces and infrastructure.

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Broadcasting regulation

Since the mid 1990’s, MISA has been campaigning for greater broadcasting diversity in southern Africa to combat the domination of state broadcasters and the exclusion of other voices. We advocate for a three-tier system for broadcasting: public service, commercial and community, as outlined in the African Charter on Broadcasting .

Almost every country in the region, save for Zimbabwe, has private broadcasters. Some countries like Swaziland, Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have initiated community radio initiatives while they wait for policy and legal reforms allowing community radio licenses.

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Media & Elections

Credible and fair elections are an essential element of democratic societies. During electoral periods the media play a particularly vital role. They act as a watchdog, ensuring greater transparency and accountability during the election process, providing citizens with information on their candidates, party policies and the elections process, and enabling them to make informed decisions when they cast their votes or engage in public debate.

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Children & the media

MISA strives to build the capacity of the media in southern Africa to report positively, informatively and from a base of knowledge and advocacy on child rights issues.

This is particularly important in southern Africa where more than 50 per cent of the population in many countries is below the age of 18, increasing the importance of the youth vote, both regionally and internationally.

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Journalist safety

The right to work without threat of violence is a basic human right. Everyone – from journalists, to bloggers, to people who just have something to say – has the right to form and express his or her opinions. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds this right to freely seek, receive and send out information, ideas and opinions through any media.

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Media freedom & development

MISA addresses the freedom of the media and its development through monitoring and research.

As the secretariat to the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI) Declaration  http://www.africanplatform.org/campaign/apai-declaration/ and the continental APAI campaign, MISA promotes the importance of access to information to the post 2015 development agendaThe APAI Declaration clearly articulates a number of principles that speak to the central role that access to information plays in furthering a number of rights including gender equality, health and education, which are all crucial to development.

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