Member of Parliament (MP) for Kanye North Thapelo Letsholo has called on government to support local talent by investing more money on state television Btv.
Letsholo advised the Ministry for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration to consider funding the station with P100 million annually for the next five years to purchase local content and boost the creative.
The creative industry has been hailed as a gem through which Botswana can realise its diversification goals. If well nurtured, the creative economy can be a source of socio-economic growth, jobs, innovation and trade, while at the same time contributing to social inclusion, cultural diversity, and sustainable human development, experts have said.
It is against this background that the Kanye North MP has called on the government to consider investing more into the creative industry through the state broadcaster.
The Minister Kabo Morwaeng however claims Batswana are happy with the content they are already receiving from Btv.
“Botswana Television is one of the best broadcasters in Africa and I am happy with the content they offer so far,” Morwaeng told parliament recently in response Letsholo. The Kanye North Legislator had wanted to know why Botswana Television continues to air old foreign content as opposed to locally produced content and as well as what BTV is doing to promote local content and local programmes generation and production to contribute to reducing unemployment.
“How much has Btv spent annually on purchasing local content and foreign content over the last 5 years …and what is the target percentage of local content broadcast versus foreign content?”
In response Morwaeng said while Btv recognizes the importance of local content due to its relevance to the viewers as well as its value to the economy and employment creation, like any other television station around the world, the station also sources some foreign content to provide variety.
“It is important to note that there will always be a bias towards more local content than foreign. Some of the foreign content that is aired on Btv is free while some is bought cheaply,” Morwaeng said.
“Btv employs various methods to source content from local producers. These include, among others ,commissioning of new programmes where the station provides 100 per cent funding of productions, sponsor driven content where the station provides commercial air time to companies or entities that have sponsored local productions that air on Btv, partnerships where Btv enters into partnerships with local companies to assist in the augmentation of their production resources especially technical resources such as studios, and unsolicited content where Btv purchases local productions off the shelves which while they have not been solicited by the broadcaster they fit the needs of the station…”
Morwaeng said over the last five years Btv has spent P43 084 745.71 (over P43 million) for procurement of local television programmes and P10 527 470.00 (over 10 million) for procurement of international television programmes. He said the state broadcaster currently gives 91 per cent of airtime to local content while the rest is for foreign content. The target percentage of local content versus foreign content, Morwaeng said, is 60/40 per cent in favor of local content. “But as I have already indicated, the station coverage for local content is currently much higher of the target, and that is 91 per cent.” Morwaeng also said there were no intentions by government to privatize Btv when responding to a question by MP for Selebi Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse.