Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vice President did not ban pastor from praying

source: Republic of Botswana (21/5/10) TAUTONA TIMES for May 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"

C2) 12/5/10: Vice President did not ban pastor from praying

His Honour the Vice President Lt. Gen. Mompati S. Merafhe would like to let it known that the article carried in the 12 May edition of Botswana Gazette Newspaper entitled 'VP bans pastor from praying' is malicious and misleading. This should be clear from its sensational and contradictory title which presupposes that the pastor was banned from praying all together, while in the text it is rather alleged that "The Vice President Lt. Gen. Merafhe has banned a United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) pastor, Gilbert Ramokwena, from praying at all his kgotla meetings after the pastor quoted a verse from proverbs 11.1".

For the record, at no point did the Vice President ban nor threaten to ban the said pastor from praying as per the suggestive title. Neither did he ban or threaten to ban him from praying at his kgotla meetings. We view this as a deliberate move by the paper to besmirch and defame the Vice President.

This clearly goes against the media code of ethics.

The Vice President has the right to seek recourse from the courts when he feels aggrieved. But given his firm belief in press freedom and that a responsible press contributes towards the promotion of the socioeconomic and political development of the country, he has decided not to go that route.

In light of the foregoing, one can only wish for the speedy implementation of the Media Practitioners Act (MPA) so that aggrieved members of the public could seek recourse. As per the Act, the "Media Council shall operate without any political or other bias or interference, and shall be wholly independent and separate from the government, any political party or any other body" thus ensuring its impartiality.

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