The 7th regional African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly has affirmed free media as a prerequisite to development and critical “in the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance.”
The regional meeting (southern Africa), held in Lusaka, Zambia from 22- 24 February 2012, discussed also issues of regional integration, mineral resources and their contribution to development, strengthening democracy and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The affirmation of the need for a free media in southern Africa came after the Media Institute of Southern Africa Regional Secretariat had made submissions to the joint parliamentary assembly, insisting that “the intrinsic relationship between the democratisation project and media freedom, of which the promotion of access to information is an integral part, can only be ignored at own peril” by all stakeholders.
On the role of the media, the final communiqué, issued in Lusaka on 24 February, 2012 read in detail: “Members recognised that the media are shaping public opinion, mediating the debate between the state and civil society, but also acting as a watchdog over public processes, against private gain. Free media are a prerequisite to development in the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance.”
MISA takes this resolution seriously and intends to intensify its advocacy and lobby efforts on the promotion of access to information within southern Africa as well as ensuring that the media law reform agenda gives birth to legislation that advances media freedom, independence and diversity.Post published in: News