The International Press Institute (IPI) will carry out fact-finding visits to Mozambique and Botswana from August 15 to 24 to investigate the press freedom environment and support independent journalism in both countries.

A high-level IPI delegation led by IPI Executive Board Chair Khadija Patel will meet with a range of stakeholders in Maputo and Gaborone, including government, media, journalists, diplomats, and civil society, to assess the challenges faced by the media. The mission will focus on issues including media regulation, proposed amendments to media laws and other laws with implications on press freedom, and the safety and security of journalists, including the safety of female journalists.

In Mozambique, a proposed new media law that would introduce a government-controlled media regulator is one of several challenges facing media in the country along with impunity for attacks on the press and limits on reporting from the conflict in the country’s north. Media regulation, access to information, and digital surveillance of journalists are expected to be among several key topics in Botswana.

The disappearance of Mozambican journalist Ibraimo Mbaruco two years ago in Cabo Delgado, and the recent arrest of Botswana journalist Tshepo Sethibe on charges of spreading alarming publications are two recent examples of challenges faced by journalists in the region.

In addition to Patel, the IPI delegation includes former IPI Executive Board Chair Markus Spillmann, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette, and IPI Africa Programme Manager Patience Zirima. The delegation will present preliminary findings on the two legs of the mission, on August 18 in Maputo and August 24 in Gaborone.

Reports with recommendations will follow. The missions are part of IPI’s Africa programme, which seeks to monitor attacks on the press and hold governments to account for their commitments to guarantee journalists’ safety and freedom.