Thursday 14.4.2016 in Expression in Botswana Country Page
Despite constitutional protections, free speech is under threat in Botswana following a series of attacks on critical media. In January 2015 the website of prominent daily Mmegi was hacked and 12 years of archives deleted. The attack allegedly originated from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS). In May 2015, police raided the offices of the Botswana Gazette and arrested three staff members. The newspaper had published an article that accused the intelligence services of being involved in corrupt deals with a Zambian national. The president told a gathering in 2013 that government would be willing to sponsor defamation cases of cabinet ministers against the media. There is no access to information law in Botswana. Civil society organisations however have worked with opposition parties to draft a Freedom of Information Bill which remains pending due to lack of political will. In a move seemingly designed to increase pressure on private media, government authorities allegedly withdrew their advertising revenue to these outlets.