Posted by: africanpressorganization | 9 July 2008

International Press Institute (IPI) / Botswana / IPI Calls on Botswana’s Parliament to Reject the 2008 Media Practitioners Bill


 

International Press Institute (IPI) / Botswana / IPI Calls on Botswana’s Parliament to Reject the 2008 Media Practitioners Bill

 

GABORONE, Botswana, July 9, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, calls on Botswana’s parliament to reject the recently-presented 2008 Media Practitioners Bill.

 

According to information before IPI, the bill, which was introduced by Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, on 27 June 2008, includes several provisions for increased governmental involvement in the regulation of the media. For example, the bill imposes registration requirements for journalists residing in Botswana, and provides for both financial penalties and imprisonment of up to three months in cases of non-compliance. In addition, it seeks to subject issues formerly within editorial discretion, such as decisions relating to publishing replies, to regulatory enforcement. Finally, the bill also grants new powers to Minister Venson-Moitoi, who would have the power to both appoint members of the Complaints Committee, a sub-section within the country’s Press Council, and to direct the dissolution of the council’s executive committee.

 

“We are disappointed that this bill seeks to increase, rather than decrease, governmental involvement in the regulation of the media, particularly because it follows lengthy deliberations and input from the media, which appears to have been ignored. We call on Botswana’s parliamentarians to demonstrate their commitment to a truly free press by rejecting this problematic bill,” stated IPI Director David Dadge.

 

SOURCE : International Press Institute (IPI)


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