By Staff Reporter
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MIsa) regional office will on May 2 host regional World Press Freedom Day Commemorations in Bulawayo.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day commemorations will be held under the theme: Journalism Under Digital Siege.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Service minister Monica Mutsvangwa, will address delegates on the state of Press freedom and access to information in Zimbabwe during the high-level meeting.
The keynote speech will be presented by Ambassador Salah S Hammad, the head of the African Governance Architecture (AGA).
Hammad is a strong advocate for the safety of journalists and ending impunity for crimes against journalists on the African continent through establishment of continental frameworks that addresses the plight of media workers.
Unesco regional director Lidia Arthur Brito will read the organisation’s Director General’s 2022 World Press Freedom speech.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, Commissioner Ourveena Geereesha Tospy-Sono, will speak on the state of access to information and freedom of expression in the Sadc region.
Misa regional campaigns co-ordinator, Nqaba Matshazi, said the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day commemorations serves as a timely reminder of the dangers of new and digital technologies on freedom of expression and media freedom.
“New technologies have a democratising effect, but of late there seems to be a rush by governments and big corporations to acquire spyware and artificial intelligence that put the privacy of journalists in peril,” he said.
“Privacy is a prerequisite for journalists to speak to confidential sources of information, once privacy is removed, access to information and freedom of expression are endangered.”
Matshazi said it was important for regional governments to be transparent with the information they gather and what they use it for.
“There is need to balance state security and other fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy,” he said.
As part of the commemorations, the Misa Regional Office will launch the annual State of Press Freedom in Southern Africa Report.
This is the second time Misa is producing the report.