In December 1989, a group of media practitioners largely drawn from various countries of southern Africa met in Chobe, northern Botswana, to discuss “the right to inform and be informed”.
This sowed the seeds of what was to become the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) which was established in 1992 with a SADC regional mandate of promoting the provisions of the Windhoek Declaration of May 1991 that declared “independent, pluralistic and free press” as essential for democracy and economic development.
Since its founding MISA, based in Windhoek, Namibia, has monitored, investigated and reported on media freedom violations in the 11 countries of the SADC, earning itself a reputation for being a credible source of such information. In so doing, MISA has since positioned itself as the primary advocate for media freedom and freedom of expression in southern Africa, having successfully – and irreversibly – put media freedom and freedom of expression on the development agenda in southern Africa.
MISA Zambia, established in 1996, has been one of the leading organisations in Zambia involved in promoting media freedom, freedom of information and freedom of expression. MISA Zambia has scored a number of successes in its period of existence. Among its successes are the enactment of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Amendment Acts of 2002. MISA Zambia also played a key role in the establishment of the Zambia Media Ethics Council (ZAMEC) through the Media Liaison Committee which MISA Zambia is an ardent member of.
Today, the organisation continues to command respect from government, civil society, academia and the general public, and is considered a relevant actor in the development processes of the country. It has been a lead organisation in the enactment of two key broadcasts laws; the IBA and ZNBC Amendment Act of 2002.
Throughout its existence, MISA Zambia has maintained its role as an advocate for media freedom and freedom of expression with the broader goal of promoting democratic governance, accountability and transparency.