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PS defends broadcasting director on Khama speech

Staff Writer
The permanent secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, Festinah Bakwena has said there was nothing wrong with the director of broadcasting services reading a statement from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on state radio and TV.

On Friday, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo read a speech by President Ian Khama explaining why he suspended the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general Gomolemo Motswaledi. Though there has been criticism that this is another sign of the ruling party's abuse of state media, Bakwena said that the subject of the statement was not just a BDP issue. She said the speech tackled an issue of national concern. "Its wide coverage in the media had led to public concern and so it became a national issue relating to events that took place in the governing party and the engagements of the state president. We cannot make light of this fact," she said.

She stated that Kaboeamodimo has the mandate to manage, run and give direction to all operations of state broadcasting services by virtue of his position. Bakwena said that Kaboeamodimo is accountable for the treatment, packaging and delivery of content, including political content, on both Radio Botswana and Botswana television. She explained that the director bears

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responsibility for the presentation or delivery of any material on both Radio Botswana and Botswana television.

"It is both common cause and courtesy therefore that matters of national importance, such as the recent public statement by the President, shall be handled at the appropriate level of authority and this may be in the form of personal attention by the director, as was the case with the recent presidential statement," said Bakwena.

She stated that media briefings by cabinet minister and high profile officials are given the same high level of attention and courtesy.  She added that depending on the nature and sensitivity of the issue at hand, the director may decide to delegate. 

She asserted that this is not necessarily government policy, but rather a matter of editorial accountability and practice. 

"As the accounting officer for Radio Botswana and Botswana television, the director is at liberty to use his discretion in consultation with relevant people depending on the situation," she said.



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