The government has embarked onaÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â charm offensive to win support for its media act, but the media will fight it in every way possible, writes Mmegi in an editorial.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â This means going to court, and in the meantime making implementation as difficult as possible.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
The Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, has been going around the country 'clarifying the media act', the government media is quick to point out.
And we have also seen government journalists scramble to report on the so-called clarification mission.
It has come to our attention that government media workers have been told to push this insidious agenda and force-feed the nation this piece of foul legislation.
The government, it would seem, has realised the distaste that many Batswana have for this law and so it is carrying out a charm offensive, to render it palatable. These are weird times indeed.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
This week, members of the private media fraternity met to discuss the current crisis, more specifically, the implications of this law. They came to three basic resolutions, the most important being the principle that the media fraternity would do as little as is legally possible to help the implementation of this law. The second point was that the media will contest the constitutionality of major sections of this law, especially looking at its infringement of freedom of expression and freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution.
These are matters that remain central to the law's major flaw.
However, the time is now, and the law is already in action as the Minister has already indicated.
Under these circumstances, where the Minister has already come out to cherry-pick citizens willing to serve in the so-called interim media council, we would like to add our voice to those opposed to this project.
We are not going to volunteer for this project. Neither will we encourage anyone interested in the security of the media in this country to join this project.
We are inclined further to warn those who may be tempted to join this for their individual gains that in the long term the moral invalidity of this law will be exposed.
And ultimately, some may find themselves on the wrong side of our country's history.
We take this opportunity to urge all those interested in defending this country's constitution and our democratic system to rid themselves of any association with this law. We further want to assure our fellow media practitioners that our struggle has only begun. We should prepare for a long journey and a hard fight, but we should never doubt the importance of our struggle and the validity of its motivations.
* This editorial first appeared in Mmegi on March 13, 2009.