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Vol. 2, No. 2 for 1999 Second Quarter Report
The CYBER Express is the global voice of The Botswana Media Consultative Council (BMCC).
Visit our Web-site: www.botswanamedia.bw.
BMCC membership P 50 institutions, P 10 individuals, includes website listing, contact us for more details botswanamedia@info.bw.
BMCC Contacts:
P.O. Box 2679 Gaborone
Tel. - (267) 319179
Cell - 71624382 (Chairperson)
Fax. - (267) 324313
E-mail: botswanamedia@info.bw
Secretary-General (luba@info.bw).
Contents:
Greetings from the Chairperson
BMCC AGM Held- Board & Officers Elected
Chibbz goes to Dollywood
Media Advisory Council Meets- BMCC calls for implementation of the Broadcasting Act.
BOJA celebrates May Day/World Press Freedom Day
BMCC participates in SADC consultations
BMCC participates in Women in Media Forum
BMCC participates in Copyright Bill Consultations
BMCC Voter Education Initiatives
BMCC in Communications Sector
Top of the World
Membership Form
Join Cyber Express Mailing List
Greetings from the Chairperson
Dear Friends of Freedom of Expression,
Welcome to the fourth edition of the BMCCıs CYBER Express. Our apologies for not contacting you sooner, we wanted the release of our second quarter report to coincide with the launch of our web site. In this respect we had to wait several weeks for our domain to be registered, but can now be found at www.botswanamedia.bw. We hope that with time this modest website will grow as an interactive vehicle for our members and sympathizers around the world.
The second quarter of this year has been a busy period as the new Board Trustees has endeavored to move forward with the mandate given to it at our 8 April 1999 inaugural AGM. The membership clearly expects the BMCC to fulfill its mission of serving as a non-governmental consultative forum for our nationıs diverse media stakeholders. With representation from Advertising, Broadcasting, Corporate Communications, New Information Technologies and Visual Media Production, as well as both the public and private sector press, our Board is already broadly representative of the diversity of Botswanaıs media. The same can be said for our membership, which now incorporates over fifty institutions, both large and small.
Over the past three months the BMCC has been engaged in policy consultations over such issues as implementation of the Broadcasting Act, the proposed Copyright Bill, the zero draft of the SADC protocol on Culture and Information, and the way forward for the newly established Media Advisory Council. In doing so we have had to rely on voluntary efforts. But, greater responsibilities lie ahead creating an urgent need for us to consider how we can best expand our still humble capacity. Finally, I wish to observe that the task of promoting an enabling environment for the democratic development of Botswanaıs expanding media industries is an immense challenge that can not be met by any single grouping. In this respect, the BMCC once more reiterates its willingness to collaborate with other stakeholder organizations on issues of common concern.
Dr. Jeff Ramsay,
Chairperson
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1998 fees: all individuals P10, institutions P 50
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BMCC INAUGURAL AGM HELD
The Bonatla restaurant at the Productivity Centre (BNPC) was packed on 8 April 1999 as sixty-seven individual members and/or institutional delegates, as well as about a dozen observers, gathered for the BMCCıs inaugural Annual General Meeting. The crowd represented a turnout of just over two-thirds of the founding membership. During the course of the evening progress reports were received from the Interim Committee and a Board of Trustees was elected.
Dr. Jeff Ramsay, standing in for Interim Committee Chairman Mr. Batshani Ndaba (who has been engaged on a SADC consultancy) opened the meeting by noting that the BMCC was being established as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-governmental organization, whose mission was to promote and preserve the development of a free, ethical, democratic, pluralistic and productive mass media in Botswana. He went on to state that the need for a Botswana based institution that was structurally representative of diverse media sectors, e.g. Advertising, Broadcasting, Corporate Communications, New Information Technologies, and Visual Production, as well as Media Workers within both the Public and Private Print Media, had been enhanced over the past year by the governmentıs willingness to involve stakeholders in institutionalized public-private sector dialogues at both Ministerial and High Level Consultative Council levels. He further observed that this process had recently led to the establishment of the Media Advisory Council, on which the BMCC, as well as its organizational affiliates the Botswana Journalists Association (BOJA) and the Botswana Association of Accredited Practitioners in Advertising (BAAPA), were represented, alongside other media stakeholders.
Interim Committee member Mr. Joel Sebonego informed the audience of the organizationıs plan to launch a web-site, which he stated would provide local media with a common interactive global platform. He said that this was an opportunity for existing institutional members, as well as those to come, to make themselves better known on the world wide web. Members were asked to support the project. The need for self help was further emphasized by Mr. Mike Klinck in his presentation of a financial report for the organizations first six months of operations, which showed an income as of 28/2/99 stood at a modest P 1360, with expenditures at P 350.
The gathering was also addressed by the Secretary-General of BOJA, Mr. Rampholo Molefhe, who emphasized that journalists must come together to speak with their own voice. He expressed his disappointment that members of the profession had not been more proactive in advancing their own interests, thus allowing others to hijack their agendas.
Board Elected:- The evening concluded with the Board elections, which were conducted by Ms. Mercy Garekwe, private attorney, assisted by Mr. Billy Sekgororoane, the General Manager of MultiChoice Botswana. In accordance with Deed of Trust provisions designed to assure sectional representation, the following individuals were elected: Ms. Antoinette Chigodora (private IT consultant), Mr. Mike Klinck (Communications Manager Barclays Bank, DJ RB2), Mr. Phil McCowen (Director Pula Productions), Mr. Rampholo Molefhe (Secretary-General BOJA/Director Penlite News), Mr. Epena Ngatangwe (Editor Botswana Press Agency), Mr. Mmualefe Raditladi (Director Thanodi Investments/columnist Guardian/Mmegi/The Voice), Dr. Jeff Ramsay (Principal Legae Academy/contributor to Daily News, The Voice, Business & Financial Times), Mr. Joel Sebonego (Director Highlights Investments/BBC World Service), Mr. Barolong Seboni (University of Botswana/columnist Guardian, DJ RB2), and Mr. Tom Whitney (Chairperson BAAPA, Managing Director Marketing Communications).
Snacks for the evening were donated by MultiChoice, with additional assistance for the evening being provided by Barclays.
At its first statutory meeting on 22 April the Board co-opted three additional members: Mr. Billy Masebola (Finance Director Cheshire Foundation), Ms. Charity Santagane (UNDP Public Relations), and Ms. Rumbi Serima (Managing Director Access Botswana). Dr. Ramsay was elected Chairperson, Mr. Molefhe, Vice-Chairperson, Ms. Chigodora Secretary-General, and Mr. Masebola, Treasurer.
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CHIBBZ GOES DOLLYWOOD!
At the April AGM there was a special vote of thanks in appreciation the organizational efforts of outgoing committee member Mrs. Chibuya Ntsimanyana, who had to leave suddenly in March 1999 to undertake a study offer at the Asian Academy of Television and Film in New Delhi.
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MEDIA ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETS
In April the Board confirmed Mr. Joel Sebonego and Dr. Ramsay as BMCC representatives on the Media Advisory Council, which had held its inaugural meeting on 26 February 1999. Also attending was BOJA Secretary-General & BMCC Vice-Chairperson Mr. Rampholo Molefhe.
At the February meeting it was agreed that the Councilıs membership should be expanded from 12 to 16, while maintaining the ratio of 3/1 private sector to public sector. Three additional Private sector seats were allocated to the Botswana Press Club, BAAPA and BOJA representation. The Council further appointed a sub-committee consisting of one representative each from BMCC, BOJA, the Botswana Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), and the Department of Information and Broadcasting to draft terms of reference for the Councilıs operations. The sub-committee consisting of Acting BOJA Chairperson Mr. Mike Klinck, then MISA-Botswana Chairperson Mr. Mike Mothibi, Chief Press Officer Mr. Itulemeng Sabone, and Dr. Ramsay met and reached consensus on its recommendations on 25 March 1999. However, at the second meeting of the expanded Media Advisory Council, held on 17 June 1999, discussion of the document had to be postponed due to the failure of some members to receive it from the secretariat prior to the meeting. At time of going to press special meeting scheduled for 29 July 1999 has been postponed.
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BMCC CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BROADCASTING ACT
At both the February and June meetings of the Media Advisory Council the BMCC registered its frustration with pace of implementation of the Broadcasting Act. While acknowledging governmentıs commitment in February to move forward with sections 1 and 2 of the Act, and accepting in good faith official explanations for the delay due to various administrative bottlenecks, the BMCC remains concerned that twelve months after the enactment of the act the process of picking and empowering the National Broadcasting Board (NBB) has not yet begun. At the June meeting of the Media Advisory Council the BMCC reminded government and other stakeholders that it was the ultimate responsibility of the NBB, in consultation with the public, rather than the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), or others to establish Broadcasting policy. In this respect there was agreement at both the February meeting of the Advisory Council and March meeting of the Media Consultative Forum, that the negotiating process initiated by the Private Sector Media Policy Task force in 1997 had been superseded by the establishment of the Advisory Council, which should assume the Task Forceıs residual watchdog role.
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BOJA PARTICIPATES JOINT WORKERS DAY/WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY CELEBRATIONS
Botswana Journalist Association (BOJA) Secretary-General & BMCC Vice-Chairperson Mr. Rampholo Molefhe was among the guests speakers at this yearıs official May Day celebrations at Tsholofelo Hall, which for the first time were merged with BOJAıs commemoration of World Press Freedom Day. Before a large audience that included H.E. President Mogae and other senior officials, as well as trade union activists and members of the media, Molefhe observed that notions of Freedom of the Press were indivisible from other freedoms including freedom from want. Supporting calls for the P 600 a month minimum wage, he noted that journalists had a special responsibility to highlight the plight those who were economically marginalized. He went on to affirm that the growing inequalities in Botswana were reflected in the conditions of work in nearly all industries, including within the media, reiterating BOJAıs long-standing call for the empowerment of the nascent Botswana Media Workers Union.
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BMCC PARTICIPATES IN SADC CONSULTATIONS
In May the BMCC was invited to join other domestic stakeholders in consultations over the formulation of a SADC protocol on Culture, Sport and Information, with an initial brainstorming session being held at the Department of Culture and Youth. The consultative process, at both the national and regional levels, is expected to last a year. In early July the BMCC received a zero draft of the Protocol. While generally welcoming the Protocol the BMCC drew up a preliminary critique of certain of provisions, which will be the subject of further consultations. In particular the BMCC has called on SADC to adopt a broad vision of media and information, which adequately incorporates but at the same time extends beyond the specific needs of journalism. The BMCC took the further position that under the protocol Botswana journalists working for regognized media institutions should have automatic press accreditation to all SADC member states.
The BMCC, represented by Mr. Raditladi, Dr. Ramsay, and Mr. Sebonego, subsequently took part in a 29 July 1999 Botswana consultative meeting convened to consider revisions to the zero draft. At the meeting there was consensus among stakeholders on need to push for further liberalization and guard against domestic progress being compromised by less progressive SADC member states in terms of such issues as freedom of the press and information. The stakeholders further emphasized the need to differentiate public media from government information with stated desire for all SADC states to move towards autonomous public media.
In another matter, the new BMCC Board confirmed the Interim Committeeıs previous willingness to make an input in the establishment of SADC media awards. Mr. Raditladi and Mr. Sebonego were appointed to represent the board in this matter.
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BMCC PARTICIPATES IN WOMEN IN THE MEDIA FORUM
On 15 May 1999 Members of the BMCC, including Board members Ms. Chigandora, Ms. Santagane, and Ms. Serima participated in a woman in the media seminar to discuss the possibility of establishing a Women in the Media Association. Dr. Ramsay also sat in the opening session to formally communicate BMCC support for the initiative, before withdrawing in line with the BMCC Boardıs view that the actual organizing of any association should be left to women themselves.
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BMCC WELCOMES MOVES TO INTRODUCE NEW COPYRIGHT BILL
On 8 July 1999 the BMCC joined over three dozen other private sector NGOs and companies in welcoming the progress being made towards the introduction of a new copyright bill. The bill, which is the first copyright legislation to be introduced into Botswana in over four decades, is designed to enhance the rights of local creators, including joint creators and, in such areas a folklore, local communities, while assuring that the nation becomes compliant with international norms. At a workshop convened to consider the billıs penultimate draft, the BMCC joined the BTC in pushing for inclusion of the internet in the definition of broadcast mediums. The BMCC found support for its concern that the definition of unprotected speech could prove insufficient to prevent the long-term privatization of public speech. The BMCC also found support for its civil liberties concerns about sections of the act that would deny individuals their constitutional, albeit legally qualified, right to remain silent in certain copyright investigations. These concerns were noted for further consideration. The forum was unanimous on most issues, including the desirability of raising the period of protection for economic and moral rights from fifty to seventy years after the death of the last surviving author.
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BMCC ELECTION 1999 OUTREACH
In keeping with its civic responsibilities, while at all times mindful of its non-partisan status, the new BMCC Board at its 13 May 1999 meeting adopted a proposal from UB lecturer and BMCC member Dr. Wayne Edge to invite the leading political parties to a series of structured debates. Communications were sent to the parties but as of going to press the response had been insufficient to allow for scheduling.
On 28 July 1999 the BMCC joined hands with the Botswana National Youth Council, UB SRC, IEC and others in assisting the Voter Awareness Coalition in sponsoring a return visit by well known South African talk show host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle. The show, held at the University Auditorium attracted a standing room crowd, with panelists from the IEC and four major political groupings. Mr. Klinck and The Voice journalist Lawrence Tsondai were among the panelists.
The BMCC also participated in the 2-6 August Media Workshop on the coverage of the 1999 General Election, organized by the Department of Information and Broadcasting. Dr. Edge was invited to address the issue of 'Botswana: Authoritarianism or One Party Dominance?', while Dr. Ramsay led discussions on 'The Role of the Media in Covering a General Election.'
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BMCC IN COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR
In July the BMCC was granted representation within the Ministerial Forum of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications. More details to follow in the next edition of CYBER Express!
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TOP OF THE WORLD- CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
Finally the BMCC joins the rest of the nation in congratulating Ms. Mpule Kwelagobe on becoming Ms. Universe. Further congratulations to Ms. Universe Botswana organizer Mrs. Maleta Locke, who we are proud to have among our membership.
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