Canada co-hosting media freedom conference with country that prosecutes journalists


Canada is teaming up with Botswana to co-host this year’s Global Conference for Media Freedom, despite Botswana’s record of prosecuting journalists for reporting on government conduct and the COVID-19 pandemic. Botswana’s constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but a section of the country’s pandemic emergency powers broadly allows the state to imprison or fine journalists who publish information about COVID-19 or the government’s response to it “with the intention to deceive.” This provision has been criticized for being broad and vague. A spokesperson for the governing Botswana Democratic Party said it “has become necessary to curtail some rights to prevent the spread of the virus,” according to an article in South Africa’s the Daily Maverick.

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