Botswana: Btv going through political issues

Regulation & Policy

The Director of Broadcasting Services, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo has said that Botswana Television (Btv) will continue to flight re-runs of certain news items including those that favour the ruling party, despite a public outcry against this.

Kaboemodimo defended the re-run of a clip showcasing President Ian Khama lambasting members of the break-away Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) at a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rally in Francistown terming it an 'editorial decision'.

"We choose what to air whenever we want and therefore you guys can go ahead and write whatever you want," he said adding that he does not like it when private newspapers especially Mmegi want to make editorial decisions for him.

Mmegi had phoned the Btv boss about the matter.

The embattled Kaboeamodimo who has been under fire for the way the television station is being run, further attacked the private media and said they should never question him about the way he manages Btv as he never interferes with the way they conduct their business.

He questioned why past re-runs of other news items were never put under scrutiny. "Run your newspaper the way you want and I will run my television station the way I want," said the irate Kaboeamodimo before dropping the phone claiming he had important matters to attend to.

The controversial clip was flighted during the evening news at 7 pm on Sunday and was repeated the following day at the same time courting controversy.

Of late, opposition parties have been protesting that they are being shunned by the national broadcaster, which they say is biased towards the ruling BDP.

During the past national elections, some opposition parties expressed concern at Btv's coverage of political rallies attended by President Khama and his Vice President, Mompati Merafhe, while ignoring them in the process.

It is against this background that irate youth from the opposition Botswana Congress Party, last year stormed the Btv complex to protest against what they perceived as the pro-BDP stance by the national broadcaster.

Some national commentators have also observed that the television station has boycotted coverage of members of the Barata-phathi faction of the BDP, some of whom are now members of the newly formed BMD.

Author: GASEBALWE SERETSE, Staff Writer for Mmegi online, the English-language national newspaper in Botswana.