Thursday, April 22, 2021

Makgalemele raises doubt over Khama’s initiatives

Philip Makgalemele has woken up from a deep political slumber with guns blazing, calling for a review of President Ian Khama’s pet projects.
 
The Shoshong Member of Parliament has brought the professional conduct of the state controlled media under sharp scrutiny. He has done so by noticing a question that begs answers, regarding the day to day operations of the government media as they relate to dissemination of news.
 
Makgalemele seeks to know who might be calling the shots behind the dark corners at the mass media complex regarding what is newsworthy and what is not.
 
Further, the MP demands to know whether “there are any officers outside Government media houses at the Ministry level who either edit or authorize news to be aired and if so, the circumstances when such officers perform such functions and whether such action is in line with the editorial policies” of the three media houses.
 
While the identities of the officers in question may be a subject of speculation, it is, however, public knowledge that the Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for media, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, has long stood accused of meddling in the running of the state media even after he left his position as Director ÔÇô a charge he has vehemently denied.
 
There have been numerous reports regarding the low morale of professional journalists at the mass media complex arising from undue interference from Kaboeamodimo with a little help from newsreader, Gloria Kgosi who herself has been repeatedly fingered for prevailing over her bosses at Btv.
 
Further, Makgalemele wants the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, to state the editorial policy of Botswana television, Botswana Press Agency and Radio with regards to editing and approval of news to be read and heard.
 
The government has never escaped the wrath of media consumers for its naked censorship coupled with a total news blackout during the historic two-month nationwide strike action. The Botswana Television beamed heavily skewed news content in favour of the government without offering the country’s five public sector unions the right to reply and denying viewers the right to hear the other side of the story
 
Parliament has still to debate the legislator’s three motions. One of his motions requires government to undertake a consultative exercise aimed at reviewing “the disturbing hand out culture in Botswana and establishing new ways through which self reliance and graduation schemes can be promoted as a strategy to empower citizens”.
 
The other requests are for government┬á to review the Constituency Tournaments “to include other national policy provisions such as distance learning and employee cooperatives with the broad aim of making the initiative more comprehensive, thus keeping the youth productively engaged┬á for a much┬á longer period of time on a daily basis”.

Yet another motion by Makgalemele requests government to “review Ipelegeng Programme, with a view to enhancing its packaging to include production workshops, thus broadening skills transfer and infrastructure development at the community level”.

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