Pilane: We cannot create a monster! 

SHARE   |   Monday, 18 December 2017   |   By Sidney Pilane
Pilane: We cannot create a monster! 

I have apologised to no one and will apologise to no one for I find no reason in principle to do so. I will not yield to intimidation by the media in the same way that I have resisted President Khama's attempts at dictatorship in our country. I have reached common ground with the Voice. The Botswana Media Workers Union and the Botswana Editors' Forum have not responded to our request for a meeting to reach a common understanding on how we should relate and they seem to prefer involving the UDC. I will not agree to the involvement of the UDC in a matter that concerns me and not them. The media derives its rights and privileges from the freedom of expression provisions of the Botswana Constitution and from no other source. The Constitution gives those rights and privileges to every individual in this country and the media has no greater rights and privileges than you and I do under the law and in our politics. Similarly, those provisions of the Constitution entail obligations as much for every individual as they do for the media. So the media and individuals who work for the media do not occupy a special place in either our law or our politics; we are all equal before the law and in terms of the political rights we and the media and individuals who work for it do. That is why when one sues for defamation one sues the reporter, the editor, the owner of the paper, its publisher and its printer. Accordingly, I will criticise any paper and any reporter by name if I think they have acted unprofessionally and/or unethically in the same way that they have, for the last two and a half years, published lies and insults about me by name, and falsely criticised me by name ke itidimaletse. We must never, in a democracy, allow anybody to think that they are above the law and beyond criticism. We also cannot, in a democracy, allow anybody to prescribe to us who amongst them and how we may criticise them. We cannot allow ourselves, by threats of boycott or any other threats, to create a monster, for that monster would soon eat us up. I will not be party to that as a matter of unyielding principle. This is my final position on the matter. It is a matter of principle on which I will not compromise. I remain available to meet with the Union of Reporters and the Editors' Forum to make peace and achieve common ground without compromising on fundamental principles. I have made the request through Rasina and the ball is in their court. We must now turn our attention to consolidating the BMD and the UDC in preparation for taking state power in 2019. 

Advocate Sydney Pilane on allegations that he apologised to the Media for the BMD coverage boycott

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