MISA Zambia launches early warning mechanism ahead of 2016 polls

MISA Zambia has, in the wake of a dramatic increase in acts of violence against journalists and media houses, put in place an Early Warning Notification System as a systematic way of collecting information in good time to avert the increasing violations against media houses and journalists especially in the build up to the 2016 elections and thereafter.

The system template aims to gather information every time there is a violation or threat of violation against a media house or journalist by collecting specific information such as the Reporting Entity, Details of the Person, Reporting Date, Nature of Incident and the basic details of the incident.

As part of the system, a WhatsApp and email group for all media houses and one dedicated mobile line (0979580451) have been put in place to capture all data sent 24/7.

MISA Zambia will therefore put in place a provisional national media contact list on which representatives from media houses are included to facilitate the initiatives above.

The system will involve relevant bodies at particular stages to enable quick resolution of some of the issues arising. These will include the Electoral Commission of Zambia, the Independent Broadcasting Authority and ZICTA among several others.

MISA Zambia looks forward to active participation in ensuring the Early Warning Notification System (EWNS) operates effectively to help safeguard media freedom and freedom of expression.

The new initiative was launched by MISA Zambia’s Access to Information Ambassador, Reverent Suzanne Matale, at a press briefing on July 8, 2016.

Matala noted concern about the increase in political violence against journalists, characterised by brutal, unprecedented attacks on media houses such as the mysterious gunshots at the Post and Zambia Daily Mail Newspapers.

“…for an election to be deemed free, fair and participatory, there must be freedom of the media, equitable access to media platforms by all the political contestants and the respect of the fundamental freedom of expression which allows for open debate and exchange of alternative ideas for informed decision making”, she said.

Read her full statement here.

About MISA Zambia

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.