Plans to extend information kiosks to rural areas

MISA-Zimbabwe plans to extend its information kiosks project to outlying rural areas where the hunger for information is acute subject to the availability of funds, MISA-Zimbabwe board member Lifaqane Nare, has said.

Speaking before she officially opened the Gwanda Information Kiosk in Matabeleland South province during the World Press Freedom Day commemorations on 3 May 2013, Nare said:

“MISA-Zimbabwe is therefore happy that these kiosks are proving to be very popular and that there is indeed hunger for information as evidenced by the 40-50 people that visit (similar) facilities in Gweru and Mutare. They are also proving to be beneficial to university students who use the newspapers and other available material for research.

“Funds and resources permitting, MISA-Zimbabwe plans to open similar facilities in the outlying areas where the hunger for information is acute given that most of the mainstream newspapers sell in urban and peri-urban areas.”

MISA Zimbabwe through its Information Kiosks subscribes to all the mainstream newspapers circulating in Zimbabwe and provides other relevant advocacy and lobby material available at the kiosks that have since been opened in Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Kariba and Gwanda.

Nare said the kiosks cannot have come at an opportune moment given that the new constitution now exclusively guarantees the right to information under Section 62.

Section 62 (2) states: Every person, including the Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by any person, including the State, in so far as the information is required for the exercise or protection of a right.

She said through these information kiosks, MISA-Zimbabwe is adding value to the constitutional right to information more so in the context of the hunger for information given that most of the major newspapers sell for $1 a copy and thus compete with other basic needs.

“The majority of citizens cannot afford to buy a single copy let alone at least two papers a day i.e. one state-run daily and a privately- owned daily if one is to get a full picture of what is going on because of the polarised news content in the Zimbabwean media.

“It therefore goes without saying that a citizenry empowered through access to information will be better placed to participate, debate and demand for accountability from both public and private bodies on issues that affect their daily lives,” said Nare.

MISA-Zimbabwe staged the World Press Freedom Day commemorations in the country’s major towns of Gwanda, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Gweru and Victoria Falls under the theme: Right to Know Key to Life: Enact New Democratic Info Law Now.

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