The State of Coverage of Development Issues on National Television in Botswana

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Seamogano Mosanako


Since Botswana’s Independence in 1966 the mass media landscape in the country has experienced significant growth demonstrated by increasing number of print media publications as well as emergence of commercial radio services, and the Internet-based communication. Most importantly, was the introduction
of the Botswana Television (Btv) service after 34 years of Independence. Similar to already existing government communication platforms, Btv as a national television service was expected to contribute towards Botswana’s national development. This article examines the performance of Btv in this regard by analysing the extent to which development-oriented message is prevalent on the service. Through an interpretative content analysis of Btv schedules, the article argues that Btv has mostly scheduled educational,
informational and entertainment programmes, which are mostly consistent with the national development objectives of Botswana. National development-related themes such as HIV/AIDS, agriculture, crime prevention, school broadcasts, tourism and talent development were prevalent on Btv schedules. Nonetheless programmes relating to corruption, productivity and innovation are deficient. This article argues that as Botswana celebrates 50 years of Independence, and forges ahead with addressing issues of social justice, the coverage of development issues on Btv can be improved by addressing the limitations relating to the limited diversity of sources of programming, improving minority participation, as well as introducing a hybrid funding model for the service.

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