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Southern Africa media organisations to send delegation to Botswana to protest new Bill which would threaten the country's media freedom

Botswana Editors Forum Chairperson, Spencer Mogapi handing over a Botswana Media appeal to the European Union Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek. On the far left is MISA Botswana Director Tefo Phatshwane. Picture: Supplied

Botswana Editors Forum Chairperson, Spencer Mogapi handing over a Botswana Media appeal to the European Union Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek. On the far left is MISA Botswana Director Tefo Phatshwane. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 3, 2022

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DURBAN - Media and journalism organisations from across Southern Africa are expected to send a delegation to Gaborone to investigate the Botswana government’s decision to rush through parliament a law that will threaten the country’s media freedom.

The Botswana government recently published its proposed Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill, which would allow for search, seizure and surveillance without a warrant.

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In solidarity, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Southern African Editors’ Forum and the Campaign for Free Expression joined the Botswana Editors’ Forum and the Press Council of Botswana to protest the Bill currently before parliament.

The Bill means that the Botswana government could intercept communication while the media and the public will be forced to disclose information to state intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

In a joint statement, the media organisations indicated that the government’s rush to implement the proposed Bill would threaten the country’s media freedom.

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“This would undermine many of Botswana’s established rights, undermine the work of journalists and threaten their sources.”

“The delegation has written to the Botswana President, the parliamentary Speaker and Chief Whip of the ruling party to ask for meetings, expressing serious concerns about the impact this Bill will have on Botswana and the whole SADC region. We are asking the Botswana parliament not to rush the Bill, but to open it up for proper discussion and consultation that will help avoid any unintended harm,” reads the statement.

Anton Harber of Campaign for Free Expression said they were in support of Botswana colleagues in trying to stop this Bill adding that they wanted to understand exactly what was going on.

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“This is a fact-finding and solidarity mission. We believe it will impact not just on Botswana’s democracy and economy, but the whole region,” Harber said.

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Related Topics:

Media Freedom

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