Botswana Business Ethics Forum (BBEF) hosted a two-day workshop on the 10th and 11th September 2019 for the media in Botswana. The theme of the workshop is “STRENGTHENING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE DCEC AND THE MEDIA”. The workshop was held to promote the goals of the BBEF, which are; to facilitate the interaction between academics and practitioners who share an interest in business ethics; To gather and disseminate information on business ethics in Botswana, and to promote best practices in business ethics amongst the business community. BBEF was initiated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and University of Botswana (UB). Its objective is to promote transparency, good governance and business ethics across all sectors of Botswana.
The objective of the media workshop was to create awareness to the media regarding how their relationship with the DCEC can be strengthened. The focus of the workshop, facilitated by the Transparency International Secretariat, the DCEC and other local organizations, was on strengthening the relationship between the DCEC and the media. Furthermore, the workshop entailed training the media on how they can access the DCEC regarding the reporting of corruption allegations and cases before the courts. The idea for the workshop emanates from the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which stresses the importance of establishing working relationships between anti-corruption agencies and the media.
Article 6 – “Preventative anti-corruption body or bodies,” of UNCAC calls for state parties to ensure that they have in place bodies to prevent corruption such as the DCEC. UNCAC further states in Article 10 – “Public reporting,” that such bodies shall take into account measures to combat corruption. These measures are listed as:
(a) Adopting procedures or regulations allowing members of the general public to obtain, where appropriate, information on the organization, functioning and decision-making processes of its public administration and with due regard for the protection of privacy and personal data, on decisions and legal acts that concern members of the public;
(b) Simplifying administrative procedures, where appropriate, in order to facilitate public access to the competent decision-making authorities; and
(c) Publishing information, which may include periodic reports on the risks of corruption in its public administration.
The African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption under Article 9 “Access to Information” and Article 12 “Civil Society and the Media” also echo the same sentiments as UNCAC regarding the media and anti-corruption bodies.
The articles of these two conventions clearly demonstrate the need for a relationship between the media and the DCEC. Maintaining a successful relationship between the two requires the DCEC to continually provide content to the media. Furthermore, this relationship will be strengthened by the following:
• Informing the media about the correct reporting terminology
• Informing the media on how to report cases without breaching the law
• The DCEC sharing information that is available in the public domain
• Creation of a free and safe environment for reporting corruption to the DCEC
• Protection of sources and informants