Business Botswana Ethics Forum (BBEF), a University of Botswana and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) initiative, recently organised a two day workshop for journalists with the aim of strengthening relations between media and the DCEC.
The workshop which was held in Gaborone, was also to train media on to access the DCEC regarding reporting of corruption allegations and cases before courts. The idea to organise the workshop was also informed by the United Nations Convention against Corruption and African Union Convention on the Prevention and Combating Corruption provisions that underline the importance of establishing working relationships between anti-corruption agencies and media.
Speaking at the official opening of the workshop which was also attended by Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, DCEC Director General, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo, described the media as an important stakeholder in the fight against corruption through their investigative reporting.
Brigadier Mathambo advised the media to practice good and ethical journalism and to uphold the principle of innocent until proven otherwise when they report on corruption. He cautioned that diverting from such principles and values, the media risked losing credibility and public trust.
However, Brigadier Mathambo made a disturbing observation whereby media practitioners faced risks in the exercise of their role to expose corruption. He lamented that unfair treatment of media practitioners undermined their role in a democratic setup.
Consequently, he warned that without freedom of the press there could be no freedom of express in the country hence advocating for access to information to enable the media to expose and report accurately on corruption.
Meanwhile, topics covered during the workshop touched on reflections for media actors on what corruption was and why it mattered, citizens view on corruption, measuring corruption, anti-corruption measures and its framework in Botswana as well as security and safety for journalists and their work.
Participants were drawn from media houses under the Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union, Media Institute of Southern Africa Botswana Chapter, in addition to public relations officers from government and media students from local tertiary institutions.