Our history

In December 1989 they sowed the seeds for what was to become the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

Our history

In December 1989 – against a backdrop of violations against media, harassment of journalists and restrictions on citizens’ rights to free expression by governments in the region – media practitioners gathered in Botswana to discuss “The Right to Inform and be Informed”. During this meeting, they sowed the seeds for what was to become the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

MISA was officially established in September 1992 in the wake of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media in Africa, which declared an “independent, pluralistic and free press” as essential for democracy and economic development. MISA was given the mandate of promoting these provisions across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

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Find out more about our history in this timeline:

1989

Media workers meet in Botswana to discuss “The Right to Inform and Be Informed” and sow the seeds for creating MISA.

1991

Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media in Africa (Windhoek Declaration) is adopted in Windhoek, Namibia.

1992

MISA is officially launched in September with a SADC mandate of promoting the provisions of the Windhoek Declaration of 1991.

1994

MISA Education and Production Trust registered on 12 October in Windhoek, Namibia.
MISA joins the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), a network of more than 100 organisations worldwide monitoring, promoting and defending freedom of expression.

2001

MISA and the UNESCO Windhoek Cluster co-host the Windhoek Declaration +10 conference, where the African Charter on Broadcasting is adopted.

2002

African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa adopted.

2011

MISA and the UNESCO Windhoek Cluster co-host the Windhoek Declaration +20 conference.
The African Platform on Access to Information Declaration is adopted during the Pan African Conference on Access to Information on 19 September in Cape Town, South Africa.

2012

MISA celebrates 20 years of promoting and defending free expression in southern Africa.

2013

MISA and partners successfully lobby the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to acknowledge the interface between Press Freedom and Development. The PAP subsequently launches its campaign aplty titled ‘Press Freedom for Development and Governance: Need for Reform’,  a fulfilment of a PAP Resolution – No PAP/P(3)/RES/08(1).

2015

MISA and partners successfully lobby Unesco to adopt September 28 as International Day for Universal Access to Information.

2016

MISA celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media in Africa.