BY LORRAINE MUROMO
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) has urged governments in the Sadc region to respect Press freedom during the COVID-19 period after some African countries imposed repressive media regulations that stifled effective reportage on issues to do with the coronavirus.
In a statement last week, Misa expressed concern that Reporters Without Borders (RSFs) had adjudged Zimbabwe’s rankings on Press freedom as having slid from 126 to 130 out of 180 countries.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe has tightened media regulations positioning itself between Nigeria and Uganda on the podium of Africa’s most repressive countries with regard to the coverage of the coronavirus crisis,” the report
Countries such as Angola, Malawi and Zambia, which moved up the rankings, have shown that with the right approach, the operating environment for the media can be improved.
“On the other hand, Misa is worried that countries like Tanzania and Zimbabwe fell sharply on the rankings.There is a lot that still needs to be done by these countries to ensure that the operating environment for the media is improved.”
The regional media body called upon African governments to use the RSF report and the Southern Africa Press Freedom report to strengthen media policy and regulatory frameworks.
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