The Media Institute of South Africa (MISA) Botswana has condemned this week's publication of the controversial Media Practitioners Bill by the Minister of Communication, Science and Technology Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.
MISA national director, Thapelo Ndlovu said the minister published the bill before the proposed consultation between the media fraternity and the ministry.
He said the fact that the minister went ahead and published the bill in its original form shows that the proposed consultations are irrelevant to the overall process. Ndlovu told Mmegi yesterday that he is not entirely surprised by the publishing of the bill, but he expected the minister to allow consultations with the media to come to its logical conclusion before publishing the bill. "We have always argued that the ministry was just conducting a public relations exercise with the consultations instead of truly wishing to take on board the concerns of the media fraternity. They want to do this and they want this bill in its current form," Ndlovu said.
In a statement released on Monday,
"MISA Botswana calls upon the Members of Parliament to continue debating the bill with open minds and always trust their instincts, with the nation's interest coming first. This nation chose democracy to guide its governing system and it is high-time our leaders remember that. Please reject the bill," the statement said.
The bill received criticism from the media fraternity mid-year when it was published in the Government Gazette for the first time. It has been the subject of debate and controversy with the media accusing Venson-Moitoi of acting unilaterally and in bad faith. Recently the minister indicated that she was engaging the media in consultations.