The Daily News, a government newspaper on Tuesday February 24, 2009, ran a rebuttal of the Media practitioners Act petition initiated by MISA and signed by the different international media and freedom of expression organizations, according to a media release from Misa.
The front page story supports the governmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s position on the Media Practitioners Act and attacks the petition as, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦misunderstanding of the legislation.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â The ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢storyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ does not illustrate or have any opposing views, or acknowledge the views of MISA shared by many other regional and international organizations. The article extensively quotes Dr Jeff Ramsay, the coordinator of the Botswana Government Communications and Information System. MISA-Botswana is reliably informed that Dr Ramsay is infact the author of the article or instigator.
Commenting on the story, MISA-Botswana says this is worrying as it comes against a backdrop of an Afro Barometer study which clearly showed that Batswana are against any form of social manipulation and social engineering of media freedoms and media content.
MISA Botswana says it is concerned about this trend in which the Botswana public broadcaster,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (Radio Botswana, BTV), including The Daily NewsÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â support governmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s positions and suppress alternative views on important national issuesÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â that impact on democracy in Botswana. MISA-Botswana adds that the government is abusing the state media.