The new US ambassador Earl Miller has underscored the important role the media plays in a democratic society. Officially opening a week-long Investigative Journalism Training on Monday the ambassador said media freedom keeps societies and economies vibrant, energetic and strong.
“Without media freedom, the transparency and accountability necessary to ensure that democracy and governance thrive are impossible,” he noted. He further stated that the media is the public’s eyes and ears and urged the media in Botswana to keep tabs on the myriad issues that have important implications for Botswana’s future. Said Miller, “you must ensure that your readers are armed with the information they need to effect change, to make decisions about who to vote for, and ultimately, to hold the parties and people voters put in positions of power accountable.”
The Investigative Journalism Training which will end this Friday is held by IREX in collaboration with the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting and the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Botswana and sponsored by the United States Embassy to Botswana.
The objective of the training is to build the skills and capacity of media professionals in Botswana to meet the information needs of their audiences and contribute to an informed, engaged citizenry and more accountable and transparent governance through investigations.
Ambassador Miller said the training is also part of the American Embassy’s effort to help improve the media climate in Botswana. “Your editors have talked to us about their papers’ limited capacity to conduct investigative journalism, and they have asked for our help,” he revealed.