Democracy and Civil Society: An Investigation into the activities of MISA-Zimbabwe in Promoting Media Freedom in Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwe, like many other African countries as well as other non-African developing nations is faced with the growing abuse of freedom of expression and media freedom. This is mainly due to the fact that developing nations which are still trying to democratise, often stiffen media freedom to further their own interests of monopolising political power for personal gains. In the wake of this scenario, various societal actors arose to challenge the excesses of the status quo and they have presented the society with alternative views. Amongst these societal actors, human rights advocacy civil society organisations have taken the lead in mounting criticisms against and challenging the status quo. This thesis was an attempt to investigate the activities that a civil society organisation in Harare- MISA-Zimbabwe, does in order to promote media freedom in Zimbabwe. The traditional liberal theory of understanding media by Curran was used to explain the watchdog role that MISA-Zimbabwe carries out to challenge the state through its activities. Assumptions regarding organisational behaviour from Thompson were also used to understand this organisational study. The data for this study was obtained from open-ended interviews and also through the use of documentary sources from MISA-Zimbabwe, MMPZ and also other relevant stakeholders. The study showed that for MISA-Zimbabwe to promote media freedom in Zimbabwe, it engages itself in a wide array of organised activities. Five key programmes areas were created by MISA-Zim to guide its activities and these are FOE and the right to information campaign, media monitoring, campaign for broadcasting diversity, media support and finally legal support (litigation). Under these key programmes areas, MISA-Zimbabwe networks with other like-minded CSOs, carries out campaigns, boycotts, road shows, writes articles and press releases and distribute flyers to raise FOE awareness amongst the public. MISA-Zimbabwe writes protests letters, statements, written and verbal petitions, position papers and these submissions are used in order to lobby and influence governmental actors to promote and media freedom in the country.
UtgiverThe University of Bergen
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