03 May 2014 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 03 MAY (NAMPA) - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) joined the international community in commemorating World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated every year on the 03 May.
The Day was celebrated under the theme Reaching New Goals: Free Media Fortifies the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Chairperson of the MISA Regional Governing Council, Anthony Kasunda said in a media statement issued on Friday the day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and opportunity to evaluate press freedom.
It also pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives for simply performing the duties of their profession in the region.
The right to work without threat of violence is a basic human right. Everyone from journalists, to bloggers, to people who just have something to say has the right to form and express his or her opinions, Kasunda stated.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds the right to freely seek, receive and send out information, ideas and opinions through any media.
According to him, globally, 2013 was labelled the second-worst year on record for jailed journalists (after 2012), and MISA recorded 16 cases of journalists being arrested.
As a leading advocate for media freedom in southern Africa, for the past 22 years, MISA has campaigned for the repeal of laws criminalising freedom of expression, including criminal defamation, insult, sedition and false news laws, he stressed.
MISA called on governments and authorities to respect the rights of media workers and to repeal those laws which are being abused and used to unfairly detain journalists and media workers and stop them from performing their duties.
The organisation also sent a message to journalists that they should not forget that they provide an invaluable service to society by reporting on situations and matters which affect the daily lives of the people.
You provide your listeners and viewers with the information they require to be active citizens in their communities. We know that you sometimes do this work in situations and conditions that put your safety at risk and those of the people closest to you, Kasunda reminded journalists.