No plans to reform state media into public media


The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi has informed the Parliament that the government did not intend to wrestle state media from government control.

“Though not administered through boards like the SABC and BBC, the departments of Information Services have clear public service mandated of promoting and publicising government policies and programmes, which they carry out without interference from government,” he noted. 

The minister added that the issue of whether or not the state media was impartial, accurate and trustworthy was a matter of perception that could not be easily resolved without undertaking a comprehensive public opinion survey.

He was responding to Selebi-Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse’s question who wanted to know if there were any intentions to reform the state media (Btv, RB1&2, Daily News, Kutlwano and others) into public media that is not financially and editorially controlled by the state and with an independent board such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and South African Broadcasting (SABC). 

Keorapetse also asked if the government was concerned that the state media was seen as not impartial, accurate and trustworthy as shown in the recent Ombudsman report and whether liberalisation would not be a good method of increasing revenue generation and job creation for the youth. 

For his part, the MP for Gaborone Central Phenyo Butale said the international standards is a three tier standards of private, public and community service broadcasting. He asked the minister if he did not want to move towards the international standards. He added that the government has already moved in that direction through Broadcasting Act of 1998 that has licensed the whole of RB1, RB2 and BTV to a public serving broadcaster.  

Molefhi said even though the stated state media’s current mandate was to serve and educate the public, they were still conducting investigations that would determine their next move towards the proposed matter. He also highlighted that there were private media entities that their mandate was to close the gap left by the state media.

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