Government censors media reporting on Bushmen

October 6, 2006

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A senior Botswana government official has ordered all the state media, including Botswana Television and Radio, to use positive government statements when reporting on the eviction of Gana and Gwi Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). They have also been told to be 'patriots first and foremost'.

The directive was issued after the main opposition parties, the BNF and BCP, published statements which are deeply critical of the government's policy of forcibly relocating Bushmen from the CKGR. (To see these, go to: and ) The President had called the leaders of the opposition parties to a meeting last month in an effort to enlist their support in the government's 'fight against Survival'. This move has clearly backfired.

The Acting President of the Botswana Congress Party, Dr Kesetigile Gobotswang, said that his party will ‘resort to the international media should the government continue to stifle the broadcast of alternative views on the relocation of Basarwa [Bushmen]'.

The Secretary General of the Botswana National Front, Akanyang Magama, said such instructions muzzle press freedom and that ‘a journalist should report freely without being told what to write or say'.