Sunday, May 26, 2024

This country is better off without BTV

Those who are expecting heads to cool down any time soon are in for a big disappointment.

The madness is set to roll on for at least five more months.

As it were, the country will not be returning to normalcy anytime before the ruling party goes to Kanye to settle a big dispute between its warring factions.

An even bigger and more divisive aegis of conflict in the form of a General Election would, however, unfortunately still linger on, contaminating the air and stoking emotions of hatred to new heights.

That part, we learn, will only be settled sometime in October.
So, as it turns out, we are in it for the long haul.

The best we can do is brace ourselves for the unfolding madness, the tragicomedy which has at its centre a national television that has thrown out the window all pretensions of fairness and balanced reporting.

There is no question that BTV professionals are taking orders from their political masters at the Government enclave, but the unbridled allegiance and transparent favouritism adopted and perfected by the station in the ongoing saga inside the ruling party is, to say the least, disheartening.

What the station management seems not to appreciate is that the public can be unremitting in its punishment of the media that deliberately chooses to be one-sided and brashly partisan as has been BTV over the last few weeks.
If BTV continues along these lines, very soon they will have nobody to call their audience.

While on the surface of it the station is doing all that is to be expected from a non partisan, non-allied broadcaster that is financed from public coffers, undercurrents reveal all the hallmarks of a station that is an active belligerent in the ongoing political saga inside the ruling party ÔÇô a television station that has excitedly hoisted itself on the coattails of one faction against the other.

Descending down the path of gutter journalism, political neutrality has become an anathema in the way BTV covers its news and current affairs.
Perhaps it’s all a part of the price we have to pay for pretending we are a democracy.

It is a shortcoming that unfortunately goes far beyond the realms of BTV’s seduction with the ruling party’s factions.

In today’s era where mass communications rule supreme, television is the surest and safest route to power, and nobody seems to know and appreciate this better than today’s crop of the feuding BDP leadership.

That said, not since Mmegi openly endorsed BNF’s Otsweletse Moupo against the BDP’s Robert Masitara have we seen a newsroom in Botswana preside on a scale of such unvarnished partisanship and a degeneration of the ethos of journalistic fairness as presently shown by BTV.

Forget about the helpless howls from the opposition that the station has been terribly unprincipled and biased against them in its coverage of this year’s elections; the worst victim of BTV’s defective news coverage is so far the Kwelagobe/Kedikilwe wing of the BDP.

The tragedy of it all is that the decay will not only affect the way Batswana generally perceive their government, it will also, more tragically, lower morale among the many talented and passionate young journalists that work for the broadcaster. How demeaning!
To be fair to BTV management, there was a brief period in the past when the station was a model of fair reporting, balanced commentary and upright news content.

That was before the channel allowed itself to become the emblem of mindless BDP factional politics.

It was also a time before the arrival of the current management who see themselves not as professionals but rather as unthinking messengers of their political masters at the government enclave.

It’s no exaggeration stating that the brief journalistic excellence as seen during the days of former Director, Bapasi Mphusu, will never be easy to reclaim again.

It now seems like the fight for the soul of the BDP and, by extension, that of the control of this country will be won and lost inside of the BDP studios.
It is embarrassing enough watching BTV’s preparedness to carry one BDP faction’s brief against the other.

It will be more interesting watching how the station will adjust were centres of power inside the ruling party to suddenly change and shift, as they sure will in the future.

In other countries, national broadcasters are a source of pride and unity. In our case, the only one that we have is a source of divisions and political animosity.
It was not always like this.


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