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Released on: February 2, 2022

Southern African journalists send solidarity delegation to Botswana to protest new Bill

In a show of solidarity, media and journalism organisations from across Southern Africa are
sending a delegation to Gaborone to investigate the Botswana government’s decision to
rush through parliament a law that will threaten the country’s media freedom.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Southern African Editors’ Forum and the
Campaign for Free Expression are joining with the Botswana Editors’ Forum and the Press
Council of Botswana to protest the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill currently before
parliament. The government has indicated that they propose to rush this Bill – which was
published only a few weeks ago – through parliament and have it signed this week.
The Bill allows for search, seizure and surveillance without a warrant, which would
undermine many of Botswana’s established rights, undermine the work of journalists and
threaten their sources.
The delegation has written to Botswana’s President, Parliamentary Speaker and Chief Whip
of the ruling party to ask for meetings, expressing serious concern about the impact this Bill
will have on Botswana and the whole SADC region. They are asking the Botswana
parliament not to rush the Bill, but to open it up for proper discussion and consultation that
will help avoid any unintended harm.
“This is a fact-finding and solidarity mission. We want to understand exactly what is going on
and support our Botswana colleagues in trying to stop this Bill. We believe it will impact not
just on Botswana’s democracy and economy, but the whole region,” said Anton Harber of
the Campaign for Free Expression.
Contacts:
Anton Harber, Campaign for Free Expression +27-83-3039497 anton@harber.co.za
Spencer Mogapi, Botswana Editors’ Forum
Tabani Moyo, Misa
Aubrey Lute, Press Council of Botswana
Willie Mponda, Southern African Editors’ Forum
Emang Mutapati, WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Committee

Media statement

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