Mmegi Online :: Makgope, protect journos in court
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Last Updated
Saturday 25 May 2019, 16:03 pm.
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Makgope, protect journos in court

Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court on Monday nearly turned into a bloodbath after irate murder accused turned their anger on journalists, as police appeared momentarily paralysed.
By Mmegi Editor Wed 20 Sep 2017, 11:53 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Makgope, protect journos in court








The small courtroom packed with suspects, prosecutors, prison warders and the general public, watched as one of the suspects who had just been un-cuffed grabbed a baton belonging to one of the police officers and hurled it at one of the journalists who were just a few metres away. The baton hit a Botswana Television (Btv) camera, slightly missing its intended target. This is certainly not an isolated case. Suspects, especially those facing serious crimes have this ‘I have nothing to lose’ attitude. Though there are some officers who are determined to protect journalists, to most it seems as entertainment to watch dangerous suspects attack scribes. We urge the Commissioner of Police, Keabetswe Makgophe to protect us.

It is imperative to note that journalists go to the courts on behalf of the public and have to be protected in their duties owed to, amongst others, public interest in order to perform in their roles. Of recent we have been seeing suspects in cases involving murder, armed robbery and other serious crimes being granted bail.  Though we cannot convict them before the courts do, it is important that the nation is cautious of such individuals as some of them continue doing their ill deeds while released on bail. Having the media capture such reports and take such pictures of the said individuals assist the public to exercise caution when around devious, even murderous characters, alleged or not.

Also, showing suspects on television and print could help deter impressionable minds from engaging in criminal activities and desist from making self-destructive choices that could doom

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their futures. We learnt from our reporter that while on assignment at the Broadhurst court covering the murder accused case that a police officer on the scene told his colleague, “Let them beat them! Why are they taking pictures of them?” That officer does not deserve to wear any service garb of honour, let alone the police uniform. But unfortunately, it is how most uniformed police officers think, hence these countless attacks on journalists. Photographers are fearful to take up court case assignments because of this lack of protection in the very presence of its custodians and we humbly request you, Rre Makgophe to protect us.

As alluded above, we capture the good and heroic deeds that you perform in order to combat crime that is becoming highly endemic. We need unbridled access to publicise such deeds much as we also use our watchdog role to keep the police on the leash so that they do not use excessive force on suspects. Police officers and indeed prison warders of honour should be interested in relating well with journalists. That goes to show that the officers are either clueless about court processes or intentionally bully scribes. We urge particularly the service spokespeople, Witness Bosija and Dipheko Motube, to foster vital good relations whereby officers work with scribes in mutual harmony at our courts.  From each according to his code, to each according to his service.

 

Today’s thought 

“Journalism is the protection between people and any sort of totalitarian rule.  That’s why my hero, admittedly a flawed one, is a journalist.” 

–  Andrew Vachss

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Editorial
Wed 20 Sep 2017, 11:53 am
Tue 19 Sep 2017, 11:58 am
Fri 15 Sep 2017, 11:10 am
Thu 14 Sep 2017, 11:16 am
Wed 13 Sep 2017, 11:22 am
Tue 12 Sep 2017, 11:36 am
Fri 08 Sep 2017, 11:13 am
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Wed 16 Aug 2017, 11:19 am
Tue 15 Aug 2017, 11:31 am
Fri 11 Aug 2017, 11:15 am
Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:29 am
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