By Leopold Munhende
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has called on journalists to test the new media laws enacted as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s amendment process.
Speaking after a MISA Harare Chapter meeting on the Freedom of Information Act, Saturday the organisation’s advocacy officer Malvern Mukudu said it was important for journalists to assess how the government responds to media’s requests for information.
The Freedom of Information Act gives journalists explicit rights to information in the hands of public officials.
“Journalists are in the trade of finding information, processing it, and producing especially those who do investigative journalism. It is imperative that they test this law by making information requests and writing public interest stories that can expose corruption and other vices in society,” said Mukudu.
“At the moment we have not received reports of denial from journalists, maybe it is because the law is still very new and they are trying to get to grips with things but we have not received any reports of journalists having been denied information which is why we are saying perhaps more stories and information requests should be done to take advantage of the new law and test it,” said Mukudu.
“The importance of testing the law is so that we ensure that we increase awareness about the law and ensure that ordinary people enjoy their right to information as enshrined by the constitution.”
He said public officials had for long been hesitant in sharing information with journalists, a situation that hindered access to news for millions of citizens in the country.