Following the well publicised withdrawal of law suit against Sunday
Standard newspaper by Botswana President Ian Khama, his sister, Jacquiline Khama
has asked the controversial media complaints Committee, set by the
minister to bar journalists of the paper, including its editor from
practicing, according to an alert frmo Misa.

Although there has not been any registration of media practitioners, as per the new Media Practitioners Act, Ms Khama asks the complaints committee to deregister the journalists.

“That disciplinary action be taken against Mr Outsa Mokone and Reuben Pitse , respectively which should lead forthwith to their removal from the register of media practitioners,” reads the letter from Jacquiline Khama.

In the meantime, following MISA Botswana’s inquiry, the following people have been announced as members of the Government’s media Complaints Committee:

1.    Nathan Kgabi (Chair)
2.    Seamogano Mosanako
3.    Sethunya Makepe
4.    Alinah Segobye
5.    Mookodi Seisa
6.    Phillip Segola
7.     Bonzo mothibatsela-Makgalemela

Most of them work for Government or parastatals (Government owned companies).

Background

Both the president and his sister were cited in a story that implicated the president in the killing of John Kalafatis, gunned down on May 13, allegedly by security agents. The story by Reuben Pitse said the shooting followed a robbery at Ms Khama’s residence whereupon the President allegedly ordered the killing of the alleged suspect, Kalafatis.

Immediately after the story the president initiated a defamation suit but eventually withdrew following public pressure.

MISA Botswana was one of those who advised the president to withdraw and instead follow the Press council of Botswana route. Press council is a self regulatory body with its own complaints and appeals committees. Ms Khama has instead chosen the statutory route which MISA Botswana and media fraternity have rejected. MISA Botswana has always feared that the Media Practitioners Act would be used to intimidate journalists as is happening in this case.//End//