Vol.23 No.144

Tuesday 26 September 2006    
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Government media instructed on CKGR

Staff Writer

9/26/2006 4:54:28 PM (GMT +2)

The deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Science, Communications and Technology, Andrew Sesinyi, has instructed all departmental heads in the state media to ensure that any negative reporting on the controversial relocations from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) should be contrasted strongly with freshly-sought government statements.

In a communique to his juniors, Sesinyi said that it is a worldwide practice that professional journalists are first and foremost patriots before anything else. He said that the British based NGO, Survival International (SI) that has taken the side of CKGR residents in the dispute over government-inspired relocations has waged economic war against Botswana.

"We are also conscious of the fact that the excellent fortunes of diamond activities being relocated from London to Botswana will continue to unleash negative reaction from those that are hell bent to prove that there can never be a success story," Sesinyi said in the communiquZ. He asserted that the government media in particular is the sole weapon of the nation in the economic war that is waged via the far more developed media networks of the western world. He commended the media for exercising restraint in refusing to relay the destructive propaganda against Botswana. He lashed at the private media, which he accused of rallying behind the enemy. Sesinyi warned that those who would interpret his move as injurious to press freedom, must have read the wrong textbooks or none at all. "Those in the public media should treat this communication as both an instruction and guideline," he said. He added that his move is an endeavour to encourage the principle of balance. He reiterated that freshly sought information is vital in any sensitive matter. "I'm not trying to protect anyone, it is a matter of balance in which both parties should comment," he said. He denied that the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has been denied coverage in its activities related to the CKGR. "The coverage that we gave to them was even longer than that of the President or any minister," he said. Sesinyi said if he wanted to protect the government, state media would have not aired any contradictory views on the CKGR at all.

The BCP recently accused the state-owned Btv of spying on them. The opposition party said Btv always interviewed and covered them on the CKGR but never aired the material. The acting vice president of BCP, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang accused the government of using the public media to peddle its views while denying other stakeholders the opportunity to do so. However, the general manager of the station, Banyana Segwe denied that her station has ever engaged is such deeds. She said that parties that were not happy with coverage have never approached the station. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

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