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Title:Striking a balance between media freedom and protection of reputation: the defence of reasonable publication in Botswana
Author:Balule, Badala TachilisaISNI
Periodical:The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa (ISSN 0010-4051)
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:freedom of the press
professional ethics
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC137909
Abstract:This paper explores the adoption of the defence of reasonable publication in Botswana, and also looks at similar defences in other common law jurisdictions - South Africa, Namibia, England and Canada - which can be used to develop the defence in Botswana. The defence of reasonable publication has now been confirmed as forming part of the common law of defamation in Botswana. The question that arises is whether the elements of this defence are clearly articulated in local case law so as to enable the media to anticipate what kind of conduct would satisfy the criteria for reasonable publication. The paper shows that the current Botswana case law on the defence of reasonable publication fails to articulate the elements of the defence clearly. The best attempt at defining this defence has been in the Ocaya case. In articulating the defence of reasonable publication in Botswana, the courts should make it clear that the defence embodies a standard of responsible journalism by which to judge whether a publisher took adequate steps to ascertain the accuracy of the material published. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]