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Botswana


-  Surface area: 600,372 sq. km
-  Population: 1,541,000
-  Languages: Setswana, English
-  Type of State: unitary republic

Botswana - Annual report 2002

The government’s hold over the public media was revealed after the resignation of a television news editor. The state tries to use advertising to strangle independent newspapers economically.

In April 2001 journalists with the national television channel BTV protested against their management’s orders not to broadcast a documentary on Mariette Bosch, a South African sentenced to death for murder and executed in Botswana a few weeks earlier. The journalists described this decision as "state interference in the independence of editorial staff". The channel’s news editor said he had received orders from "higher authority" "not to broadcast the unacceptable report". On 1 May he resigned, with the following words: "The journalists of the channel and I have often been harassed by the government administration. This made the smooth functioning of the channel’s news service impossible".

On 1 May the Botswana Guardian and the Midweek Sun published a letter from the state secretary for communication, asking state and para-state companies not to advertise in these two local newspapers. On 23 May the police said they would no longer collaborate with journalists from the two titles. According to the managing editors of the Botswana Guardian and Midweek Sun, the state is the main advertiser in the country and this measure could have resulted in their closure. In mid-June the two publications sued the government and in September the Lobatse county court in south-east Botswana asked the government to suspend its advertising boycott.



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see also
Introduction
Annual report 2002

Hard times for press freedom
Asia annual report 2002
Americas annual report 2002
Europe annual report 2002
Maghreb / Middle-East annual report 2002