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Botswana: Strengthening media institutions as drivers of democracy

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Botswana, May 2018 – Media4Democracy and its partner European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) are collaborating with the EU Delegation to Botswana to strengthen the local media sector, particularly media institutions, to drive democracy.

While Botswana is traditionally presented as a rare example of a peaceful democracy in Africa which reached upper middle-income status in 2007, the State media outlets operate directly under the oversight of the political leadership. Additionally, the private media sector struggles to survive and develop economically within a small market dominated by government operators.

During May and June, Media4Democracy and EPD deployed a team of three experts to map the local context and identify potential actions to strengthen institutions, to underpin democracy and to best support freedom of expression and media pluralism.  Placed within the context of upcoming elections in late 2019, the EPD team met with a variety of interlocutors and provided analysis and recommendations to the EU Delegation.

The expert media trainer deployed as part of the EPD team led trainings for the EU Delegation staff, building knowledge on these issues and enhancing staff ability to act within this context.  This assignment also provided an opportunity for Media4Democracy/EPD to support a Delegation-convened workshop where representatives of the media and civil society shared their views on the media freedom with the EU Delegation and EU Members States.

At the close of the field mission, the assessment team facilitated an EU Delegation strategic planning session, leveraging the assessment findings to consider options for engagement alongside the government, civil society and the media on matters related to freedom of expression.