The Botswana National Youth Council says they join the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Botswana Chapter in condemning the Media Bill which is to be presented to the parliament session that is to start in a week’s time.
The Acting BNYC Executive Director, Ndulamo Morima, says his organization is of the view that the Bill goes against the spirit and letter of Vision 2016 of an “educated and informed Nation.”
BNYC say, for Botswana to achieve such an ideal, there is need for a vibrant, free and self regulating media.
“Unfortunately the Media Bill defeats such through political interference.”
The example of political interference given by the BNYC is the appointment of both the Complaints Committee and the Appeal’s Committee by the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology as envisaged by the Bill.
In a statement, Mr. Morima says while under normal circumstances the registration of professionals is essential, “BNYC is concerned by the Bill’s requirement for registrations and accreditation of journalists. In countries where such provisions exist, refusal for registration and de-registration have sometimes been used to stifle free speech and freedom of expression.”
Meanwhile, BNYC say they commend the Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Keletso Rakhudu, for intending to table a motion requesting government to establish the Freedom of Information Act during the forthcoming parliamentary session.
“Like Honourable Rakhudu says, the Act will go a long way in increasing access to information by individuals, civil society organisations etc.”
The Council further commends Minister of Local Government Margaret Nasha for bringing the Children’s Bill to parliament.
“Contrary to other people’s views, BNYC believes the Children’s Bill will go a long way in protecting children’s rights.
“The BNYC considers as unfortunate the views that the Children’s Bill will allow such organisations such as Child Line and Ditshwanelo to lead children into wayward behaviour. On the contrary these organisations play a commendable role in protecting children’s rights and the Bill will only enhance the capacity to do so.”
BNYC further regards as a positive step the provision to include a child’s father’s name on their birth certificate. This will allow children even those who are born out of wedlock to know their fathers.
“This will go a long way in protecting a child’s right to know his or her parents,” says BNYC.