Government bans Gabz Fm live broadcasts

05 Mar 2017

Government has imposed a ban on live broadcasting by private radio station Gabz FM following their last year interview with controversial ant-gay pastor Steven Anderson.

A ruling by the Botswana Communications Regulatory (BOCRA) banned the radio station from hosting live morning shows for allegedly contravening Section 37 of the Communications Regulatory Act (CRA) Act.

This follows an investigation by BOCRA into the radio station’s  pre-recorded broadcasts of anti –gay American Pastor Steven Anderson between September 15 and 20, 2016 and their live interview with Anderson on 20 September on the station’s live morning show.

The ruling states that the broadcast by Gabz FM was “indeed unsuitable for children and as such a warning should have been issued in accordance with section 37.”  The BOCRA BOARD ordered Gabz FM to put in place a time delay mechanism within four months of board decision which will ensure that any potential non- compliant material is edited or stopped before it is broadcast. The judgement was delivered on 20th December 2016.

“Failure to comply with this order shall constitute a breach and BOCRA shall therefore be forced to institute the process to revoke the license granted to Gabz FM,” reads the judgement.

The board noted “that Pastor Anderson’s implausible and indecent contents were not cut off or censored and therefore such contents offended against good tastes and decency.” 

The board found that Anderson incited hatred against the homosexual community and his message was that the homosexual community is not worthy of respect from other members of the community.

“The board concludes that the content taken as a whole is likely to incite or perpetuate hatred against or gratuitously vilify homosexual community on account of sexual preference,” reads the judgment.

It adds that “the board hereby determines that the audience would have likely interpreted statements uttered by Pastor Anderson to have spread, promoted and justified hatred against homosexuals.”  BOCRA also ordered Gabz FM to put in place controls in place to ensure non-occurrence of similar contraventions. 

BOCRA is also expected to “issue a strongly worded letter to Gabz FM” as part of the sanctions imposed on the broadcaster.

Shortly after an interview with Gabz FM last year, Anderson was whisked away from the radio station office building by security agents and later declared a Prohibited Immigrant by President Ian Khama.

President Ian Khama told Reuters that he had ordered Anderson’s immediate arrest and deportation after the pastor said in an interview with Gabz FM that gays and lesbians should be killed.

“He was picked up at the radio station. I said they should pick him up and show him out of the country,” Khama was quoted as saying, adding that “We don’t want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country.”