The State of the Media Report is a quarterly report published by the Zambian Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). The State of the Media Report is aimed at documenting key events relating to the media in Zambia and assesses the level of freedom of expression of the media. MISA Zambia monitors and documents the level and extent of media freedom and violations of freedom of expression. The report is prepared on a quarterly basis and captures information and developments from various aspects relating to media and freedom of expression. Its primary purpose is to promote debates and advocacy on freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, media diversity, independence and sustainability, broadcasting regulation and professional standards.
The event aimed at providing a platform for major stakeholders in the media to gather and discuss issues regarding media freedom and ways in which they could be addressed. After opening remarks by Hyde Haguta, MISA Vice Chairperson, and a keynote address by Helmut Elischer, Resident Director of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stuftung Zambia, the event continued with a presentation of key findings on the period under review, plenary as well as a panel discussion, involving trade union leaders, bloggers, media trainers and both private and public media practitioners. Participants included media, government leaders, civil society and legal experts on various issues, e.g. media, legal, gender and trade unions as well as practicing journalists.
Topics discussed reached from freedom of expression, media diversity, independence and sustainability, broadcasting regulation over professional standards. The findings of the report were discussed also with regard to the methodology of the process. Some of the major findings of the report included trends of political intolerance and state interference in media operations, an increase in violence against journalists and freedom of expression being elusive for the media during the two quarters in question. The state of the media report highlighted some challenges in the media, e.g. suppression of media freedoms by the state as well as safety of journalists and the curtailing of freedom of expression.
The state of the media report has become a trusted ally in media advocacy by major stakeholders in Zambia including the international community.