Opposition parties said last week that they are considering a number of options some of which may lead to banning state run Btv from attending their events.
This was disclosed at a media press conference that was addressed by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).
Speaking on behalf of UDC, Botswana Movement for Democracy Vice President Wynter Mmolotsi said despite the fact that Btv attends their events they are hardly aired.
Falling short of accusing the broadcaster of being used as a spy outfit for the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Mmolotsi said “they are coming here to give our coverage to someone else to enjoy and not Batswana.”
Mmolotsi added that “One wonders why they come to our activities. We are still weighing options; whether to allow them in our activities or not.”
He accused the BDP of using Btv and other state run media as a propaganda machine to discredit the opposition.
He cited an incident in Francistown where the guest speaker was former Speaker of the National Assembly and now BMD member Dr. Margret Nasha which was covered by Btv but was never aired. Another event, according to Mmolotsi, was a UDC rally that was held in Maun recently but was never aired.
Mmolotsi castigated Minister of Presidential Affairs Eric Molale for what he described as spewing untruths about opposition. “Recently around Gantsi area he claimed that the knife that was recently discovered at Parliament building belongs to the opposition; that was dishonourable of Molale,” said Mmolotsi.
Mmolotsi also recalled that when Goodhope/Mabule Member of Parliament Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II was hospitalised, Molale held a series of political rallies in the constituency.
“It was my first time to see a Specially Elected MP addressing BDP rallies and doling out blankets to the voters,” said Mmolotsi.
Defence, Justice and Security Minister, Shaw Kgathi was also not spared from Mmolotsi’s accusations.
“Even Kgathi holds press conferences to come and tell Batswana untruths about opposition. The BDP of today is completely bad because now government media is being used as a propaganda machine,” he said.
He accused Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs Phillip Makgalemele of being economical with the truth when he recently told Parliament that to broadcast Parliamentary debates they need a special studio.
“The reason they don’t want live Parliamentary debates is because BDP MPs are underperforming and they do things that are irresponsible in Parliament,” said Mmolotsi.
For his part, BCP Publicity Secretary Dithapelo Keorapetse said as the opposition they do not fault journalists working for the state media for not airing their activities or events. He said the senior management at Mass Media complex who are close to the BDP leadership are to blame as they issue instructions to the state media journalists as to whether opposition events should be aired or not.
Keorapetse faulted Molale and Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for information and Broadcasting Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo saying the duo decides which opposition events to be aired and not.
“Even if opposition does appear on Btv news it is for short period of time,” observed Keorapetse.