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Press Freedom Award statement
of Southern Africa (MISA)
September 08, 2006
The Media Institute
of Southern Africa (MISA) wishes to congratulate veteran journalist
and long time freedom of expression activist Mr Alaudin Osman of
Capital Radio in Malawi for winning the 2006 MISA Press Freedom
Osman has had
a long career as a media personality and media leader. Media freedom
activists continually refer to the Windhoek Declaration as their
founding document, Al Osman was among the media pioneers involved
in crafting the declaration in 1991.
He has had an
illustrious career on both sides of the divide. He served as press
secretary to the head of state during which time he improved relations
between state house and the media. In a sometimes volatile media
environment especially when the then ruling party youths were hostile
towards journalists Osman often stepped in to diffuse tense situations
and explain the role of the media in a democracy.
At present he
is challenging the government of Malawi over the Protected Names
Emblems Flags and Places Act which makes it unlawful to undertake
any act that may bring the presidency in disrepute. Whilst a decision
is awaited this particular case is of great interest for media freedom
and freedom of expression activists.
spirit is still evident. He is the Publicity Secretary for the Malawi
Editors Forum and is at the fore front of media debates in the country
and the region. Unlike many private media institutes Capital Radio
is very conscious about the development of its staff. In that same
pioneering spirit Osman and his radio station never shy away from
When the Gender
and Media Baseline Study was conducted in Malawi Capital Radio was
among the worst performers in terms of coverage of women. Upon receiving
the study Al immediately directed his staff to ensure that voices
of both women and men were covered equally and is an active member
of GEMSA which was formed out of this same study by MISA and Gender
year MISA is honouring a media pioneer, a media leader, media trainer,
and a media activist.
The MISA Press
Freedom award is given to honour excellence in journalism in Southern
Africa. Excellence in journalism may be described as the upholding
of ethics of the profession at all costs and the relentless pursuit
of truth behind the bare facts. The award is also in recognition
of the work of an individual or institution where this is considered
to have made a significant contribution to the promotion of media
freedom in the region. The excellence which the award open to all
frms of media acknowledges, can be achieved either through reportage
or in other ways such as media reform, lobbying or training.
It was first
given in 1993 to the late Onesimo Makani Kabweza as editor of Moto
in Zimbabwe, was one of the first Zimbabwean journalists to break
the ‘culture of silence’ which followed the country’s independence
in 1980. Last year the award was given to South- African based editor
and media freedom activist Raymond Louw, in recognition of his tireless
campaigning for an enabling environment for media freedom and freedom
on expression in our region.
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