Botswana: Media Responsible for Exposing Corruption

Gaborone — The media has a role to investigate, report and educate the public on corruption and other related matters, says Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) director general, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo.

Officially opening a two-day media anti-corruption training in Gaborone on September 10, Brigadier Mathambo however warned that journalists put their lives at risk when they played that role.

They faced physical abuse, threats and lawsuits, he said.

Brig. Mathambo said the unfair treatment meted out on journalists emanated from ignorance and deliberate attempts to undermine their role.

He said while the media played a critical role in the fight against corruption both as a watchdog and providing an avenue for tracking accountability in the public and private sectors, it must be done with due regard for ethical and journalistic standards of fair and balanced reporting.

"The media must be in a position to balance their desire to sell and divulge sensitive inform that may ruin efforts to effectively investigate corruption and related cases," he said.

Brig. Mathambo said the theme of the training, "Strengthening the relationship between the DCEC and media" called for a sustainable relationship between the two in the fight against corruption.

He further said it was through the training that the two institutions would come up with ideas of improving the role and involvement of the media in reporting and combating corruption.

The DCEC director general said journalism ethics should encompass the principle of limitation of harm including withholding certain details from news reports such as names of minors, crime victims or information not materially related to particular news stories.

He said there could be no freedom of expression without a free press.

Furthermore, he noted that unfettered access helped to maintain balance between the state and people by enabling journalists and citizens alike to monitor government activities.

Topics on the workshop's agenda include the effects of corruption on society, corruption measurement tools, entry points for media engagement in preventing and combating corruption, implications for corruption reporting as well as security and safety of journalists and their work.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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