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State-owned media supports controversial Media Practitioners Act

(MISA/IFEX) - On 24 February 2009 the "Daily News", a government newspaper, ran a rebuttal of the Media Practitioners Act petition which was initiated by MISA and signed by various international media and freedom of expression organizations.

The front-page story supports the government's position on the Media Practitioners Act and attacks the petition as, "misunderstanding the legislation." The story does not illustrate or have any opposing views, or acknowledge the views of MISA shared by many other regional and international organizations. The article extensively quotes Dr. Jeff Ramsay, the coordinator of the Botswana Government Communications and Information System. MISA-Botswana is reliably informed that Dr. Ramsay is in fact the author of the article.

Commenting on the story, MISA-Botswana says this is worrying as it comes against a backdrop of an Afro Barometer study which clearly showed that Botswana citizens are against any form of social manipulation and social engineering of media freedoms and media content.

MISA Botswana says it is concerned about this trend in which the Botswana public broadcaster (Radio Botswana, BTV), including "The Daily News", supports the government's positions and suppresses alternative views on important national issues that impact democracy in Botswana. MISA-Botswana adds that the government is abusing the state media.

Updates the Media Practitioners Act:

For further information on the Afro Barometer study, see:

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