AP commits to uphold Press freedom

12th February 2018
PURPLE MISSION: Ndaba Gaolathe Source:The Midweek Sun

President of Alliance for Progressives, Ndaba Gaolathe says his party will strive to create a lively environment for the media in Botswana. Gaolathe who was presenting the party’s annual Policy Statement in Gaborone said as the Progressives, they believe that the media, although not perfect, is the oil without which nation-building is not possible. “We the Progressives will create a lively environment for the media by scrapping laws, such as the Media Practitioner’s Act, and consultatively introduce a framework that enhances media accountability, growth, quality, standards and public trust.

“We will transform the current State media into Public media that does not report to a Minister but to a collective of credible stakeholders in our society. We will de-link the Government’s procurement of advertising space from editorial posture,” said Gaolathe who is also Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South.

He said the AP believes that the media is an institution that is potentially the voice of the voiceless, and medication against excess in Government and in the corridors of power. “Importantly, the media should communicate vital information that provides a prism via which our people find, discover, explore and run with opportunity,” he said. In a related matter, Richard Rooney, associate professor and former Head of the Department of Media Studies at the University of Botswana in his new book says most journalist are hindered by restrictive laws and Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services to do their job. Rooney made these findings in his new book titled ‘News in Botswana: Themes in contemporary journalism' . He says some journalists fear the DISS that became operational in 2010 because its mandate in defending state security is unclear. Private media in Botswana have reported that employees of government media live in fear that the DISS is monitoring their activities, says the book. In a survey of how media houses support good governance in Botswana, Rooney finds that although freedom of expression is guaranteed in the constitution there are 15 laws in Botswana that can restrict the work of journalists. “The worst of these is the Media Practitioners Act of 2008,” says Rooney.

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