At least two satellite free-to-air television channels are operating in Botswana illegally, right under the nose of the regulator; Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).
BOCRA told The Monitor that they have not licensed any religious channel to operate in Botswana.
There are at least two religious channels operating from Botswana. In fact one of the two, a Tlokweng based Blessing TV, even sells its own decoders at P500; a package that includes numerous free-to-air channels.
The Tlokweng-based World Counselling Centre, a faith oriented organisation’s TV station features 24 hours of Christian programming, according to information from their website.
Another TV channel, Bethsaida TV, owned by Serowe-born charismatic Pastor Jackson Kgopolo of Holy Ghost.
Both free-to-air satellite channels have been operating for a couple of years, despite the regulatory authority claiming ignorance of their existence. In response to The Monitor questionnaire, BOCRA revealed that they have not yet licensed any Christian Television stations.
The regulatory body’s corporate communications deputy director, Aaron Nyelesi said they have received some applications for licences to operate television stations with a Christianity programming focus. Currently, the authority is in the process of developing a framework to guide the licensing process. He could not state what category these stations would fall under, as the upcoming framework would inform that.
“The licensing framework will define possible licensing categories,” said Nyelesi.
It was not immediately clear whether the licence applications being processed relate to the already operating unlicensed broadcasters.