By Mpho Tebele
Gaborone – Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi – who Chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation – has urged the media to report responsibly and avoid fuelling conflict in Mozambique.
Addressing the media in Gaborone following a SADC Double Troika Summit in Mozambique last week, President Masisi emphasised that the media in the region should avoid worsening the security situation in the Southern African nation.
“The media plays an important role in the society and we believe that they are partners in resolving and addressing the security situation in Mozambique. It is against this background that I urge the media, especially the media in our region to come to the party and avoid sensational reporting that we have witnessed in other regions of the world,” said President Masisi.
The media, he said, should report factually and avoid sensationalism.
“We have witnessed in other parts of the world where terrorists have found the media to be an invaluable source for disseminating their propaganda and even going to the extent of recruiting some journalsts and use them to plan their operations.
“The media is a powerful tool that can be used to provoke fear, disrupt harmony and peace or even fanning the flames by extremists. Therefore, we need constructive journalism when reporting on terror. In order to restore peace, one has to report or disseminate facts. My plea to the media in SADC is that it should try by all means to ensure that it becomes part of our efforts to restore peace and nation building in SADC.”
President Masisi said his remarks should not be misconstrued as an attempt to dictate what the media published or broadcast, but should be seen as a call to unite for resolution of the conflict and entrenchment of peace and stability.
He said the Mozambique security situation was a sensitive matter.
President Masisi reiterated that SADC stood in solidarity with the people and Government of Mozambique, and another meeting of the bloc would be held on June 29 to advance peace in the country.