MISA Botswana statement on advertising bans

The media industry is gravely disturbed and perturbed by recent media reports that the Botswana Government is planning to use advertising as a weapon against the private media.

The Guardian-Sun case of 2001 against the Attorney General clearly showed the unconstitutionality of government using advertising as a weapon against freedom of expression. The court found on the facts that the applicant had established a prima facie case ‘that the executive’s act of withdrawing advertisement patronage from the applicant’s papers in order to express its displeasure regarding what it perceived to be exceeding the limit of editorial freedom amounts to an infringement of the applicant’s freedom of expression’. The media industry at its recent meeting resolved to fight this matter head on.

It is sad that the Botswana Government can turn to such a discredited method to express its dissatisfaction with the private media, an act which we view as an attempt to influence editorial independence and impose a chilling effect on press freedom.

MISA Botswana

Press Council of Botswana

The Editors Forum

Publishers Association

For queries or comments, please contact:

Buyani Zongwani

MISA Botswana Director

Email: director@bw.misa.org

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.