Botswana Editors Forum calls for FOI laws and respect for media freedom

Newly elected BEF chairperson: Emang Bokhutlo-Mutapati
Newly elected BEF chairperson: Emang Bokhutlo-Mutapati

PRESS STATEMENT :The Botswana Editors Forum (BEF) along with civil society actors in Botswana and around the world would like to commemorate the importance of celebrating 30 years of campaigning for media freedom.

In lieu of this fact, BEF will over the weekend celebrate the contributions of senior local journalists, who have been indispensable pillars of support for local media fraternity at an event designed to celebrate their contribution to the country’s media landscape. A collaborative panel discussion on the debate surrounding the renewal of the partnership between De Beers and the Botswana Government will also be held on the 4 th May 2023 at the University of Botswana(UB) Conference Centre, to demystify enigma around this country’s preeminent national resource. Whilst we remain appreciative of the increased openness and engagement from Government during the tenure of President Mokgweetsi Masisi, we also remain steadfast in our calls for the introduction of Freedom of Information legislation and protection for whistle blowers.

It is common cause that World Press Freedom Day which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendations of the UNESCO's General Conference, has not been fully embraced and universally adopted. Despite this gnawing anomaly, on the 3rd May many countries celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek as World Press Freedom Day. The right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is universally acknowledged as a prerequisite and a driver to socio-economic rights. So almost 3 decades after Windhoek declaration was adopted, the right to access information and the creation of a suitable environment for such remains as elusive and relevant as ever for media professionals in Botswana.

Editor's Comment
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