BY SIZALOKUHLE NCUBE
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has accused the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) of failing to include media issues when it crafted its Vision 2050 development framework.
Vision 2050 seeks to improve the standards of living and quality of life for Sadc nationals, and also emphasizes on freedom and social justice, and peace and security issues.
“MISA notes that the Sadc regional development framework, Vision 2050, does not have a media component. This is a glaring omission given that the media is a key strategic partner for the realisation of socio-economic development,” MISA said in a statement on June 18, 2021.
“A free and secure media is critical in supporting the region in the provision of access to information for socio-economic development, poverty eradication, and regional integration.”
They said the media had a critical role to play towards fulfilment of sustainable development goals (SDGs), Agenda 2063, as well as sustainable socio-economic development in the Sadc region.
MISA said inclusion of media issues in the Vision 2050 document were critical as there was renewed pressure by some governments in the region to introduce antagonistic cyber security laws that might affect media operations and infringe on human rights.
They urged Sadc to recognise the media whenever it crafts policies as it was a key partner in terms of communicating the policies and the fulfilment of SDGs.
Recently, MISA wrote to Sadc chairperson and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi asking him to intervene as there was infringement of media freedom in countries such as Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Mozambique.
In Zimbabwe, there has been the arrest of journalists such as Hopewell Chin’ono who exposed COVID-19 procurement corruption in the country.