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Kalafatis lawyers move against Btv

Staff Writer
Lawyers acting for the late John Kalafatis' family are threatening to drag the state owned Botswana Television before the Media Complaints committee as well as apply for the Director of Information and Broadcasting, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, to be disbarred as a journalist.

It is almost two weeks since, President Ian Khama's sister, Jacqueline, tabled a complaint against the Sunday Standard newspaper before the Media Complaints Committee demanding that two of the paper's journalists be barred from writing following a story the weekly  ran after the killing of Kalafastis by security agents.

In a letter addressed to Kaboeamodimo, Kalafatis family lawyer, Dick Bayford, demands that Btv should give his clients a chance to refute stories and comments made at two press conferences addressed by cabinet ministers, Dikgakgamatso Seretse and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi."In the course of the said press conferences, which were aired on Botswana Television (Btv), certain statements and insinuations were made about the deceased. These included allegations that he was a criminal and insinuations that, as a result, his death was somewhat justified," Bayford complains. Bayford slams Btv for covering but failing to air a press conference organised by the family lawyers, which, he said, refuted reports carried in the national broadcaster following the death of Kalafatis.

"The family of the deceased is obviously affected adversely by comments

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made by various government officials regarding the circumstances leading to the death of their son. Fair and balanced reporting of all stories relating to the subject matter would have entailed affording the family, which has appointed attorneys for that purpose, a right of reply. This has not been done," states Bayford.

As a result the lawyers say that they have been instructed by the family to respond on the state owned television to statements made by Seretse and Venson-Moitoi on the Kalafatis case, with the same prominence given to the two press conferences.

Bayford, also the Sunday Standard lawyer, says that the demand is in line with the Media Practitioner's Act."We are to place you on notice that should you fail to oblige accordingly within two days of this letter, a complaint shall be lodged with the Media Council against you," states Bayford.

Kaboeamodimo has confirmed receiving the letter."I have received the letter from Bayford and Associates and for the time being I will prefer not to comment on the issue," said Kaboeamodimo.



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