The hasteÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â with which a new media is being pushed through parliament is a cause for concern and suspicion, writes Mmegi in an editorial. The imposition of the bill, which would force the registration of journalists, is an emergency, and should be dealt with as such.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â All sectors of the media should get involved.
Yesterday, MPs and representatives of the media converged for the first time since the return of the controversial Media Practitioners Bill.
We wish to express a number of points we have found to be important in the debate over government attempts to control the media. First, it is important to recognise the haste with which the Bill is being rushed through the House. Both sides in the debate, including civil society need to take note of this and make the necessary preparations to equip themselves, and thereby, the MPs with the requisite resources to make effective contributions to improve the intended law. The hurry associated with this Bill exposes two things: The minister responsible Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi wants the Bill to become law as soon as she can. Second, her intention is to make the Bill into law in its current form if possible. It is important for the MPs to have these in mind when they debate the Bill. They need to be suspicious of this hurry.
The media fraternity must wake up and treat the attempt to pass the Bill into law as an emergency that needs to be dealt with immediately. Yesterday's meeting as reported in this paper shows that the media was perhaps not well prepared to deal with the return of the Bill. Rushing the Bill through the legislative process means that it is easier for some clauses not to be scrutinised or amended. It is advisable to operate on the basis that the state media is not part of the fight. So far, the state media has acted more as a medium for the minister to promote his one-sided views on the Bill. The private media will be misled to think they could count on brotherly unity with their colleagues from the state. This therefore means that a few realities would have to be digested. The most important being that the private media needs all its resources. In this regard, we would like to call on the private electronic media to take this Bill as seriously as newspapers. Last but not least, it is important to recognise the input that MPs made yesterday.
The media fraternity seems not to have given the Bill the urgency it requires. Forming a committee to deal with the Bill clause by clause as the MPs suggested can only bring the two parties together. We want to take this opportunity to give credit to all MPs who turned up and the media houses who took part in yesterday's gathering. United we stand.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â