Introduction to Botswana News Media
Botswana is a southern African country, geographically spread over 224,610 square miles, a little more than Texas. Botswana shares its border with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. The media in Botswana, irrespective of print or broadcasting, is dominated and controlled by the government.
The print media in Botswana has many private investors, unlike the country’s broadcasting sector. While the radio has two state-owned stations along with three privately owned and eight foreign stations, the Botswana TV network includes one state-owned news channel and three privately owned channels.
Despite many private entities publishing newspapers, magazines and websites, there is no certainty over the life of the print media houses in Botswana. Many of the newspapers publish nominal content on a weekly basis and close down overnight due to pressure from the government.
Therefore, it is hard to confirm which all newspapers are actively in circulation and which all have shut their operations.
The prominent most daily newspaper currently being published and circulated in Botswana is state-owned Daily News. It is published every day from Monday to Friday. Other than Daily News, all the other newspapers in Botswana are privately owned and thus their circulation is unconfirmed and they are highly dominated by the government.
Mmegi is one popular private newspaper that publishes its edition from Tuesday to
Friday. The same company owns a weekly newspaper called The Monitor, which is published on Monday. The rest of the newspapers in Botswana publish on a weekly basis.
The Botswana Gazette, The Botswana Guardian, The Echo, The Global Post, The Midweek Sun, The Mirror, The Monitor, Ngami Times, Sunday Standard, Sunday Tribune, The Telegraph, The Voice and The Weekend Post are some of the reported newspapers that operate from Botswana.
Talking about the media ownership, which doesn’t come under any regulation, the Dikgang Publishing Company is a big name in the African nation. It owns newspapers like Botswana Guardian, Midweek Sun, Mmegi and The Monitor.
On papers, there is an act that exists in Botswana called Media Practitioners Act of
2008. The act is not implemented, though it advocates setting up a Media Council to keep a check on competitive practices among the media entities across the nation.
As far as the history is concerned, the first newspaper that was published in the most-spoken language of Botswana, Setswana, came in 1857. However, the country’s media was sent to the back foot during Botswana’s period of infamous poverty from 1910 to1940.
One man who is credited for the development of media in Botswana is journalist Sol Plaatje. From the 1920 to 1930s, Plaatje developed a new form of media. He toured villages across Botswana with a travelling ‘bioscope’ to show cinematic silent videos along with the live performances. Plaatje had pioneered this art in London during the early 1920s.
On a controversial note, some of the Botswana-based journalists were expelled from the country on charges of threat to the “national security” before the peaceful settlement in South Africa in 1993-94.
Botswana newspapers, websites and magazines’ list
Since now you know the origin and relevance of the media in Botswana, we will describe everything about a list of widely read Botswana newspapers, magazines and news websites. We have tried to explain the origin, operations, status and popularity of these Botswana periodicals.
Mmegi, which means The Reporter, is an English newspaper in Botswana. While the website is updated daily, the national newspaper is published weekly on Friday. The tabloid is owned by Mmegi Investment Holdings and published by Dikgang Publishing Company in the capital city of Gaborone. Once Mmegi used to be the only independent newspaper of Botswana to be published daily.
The tagline of the newspaper is “News we need to know daily”. It was known as Mmegi wa Dikgang until 1989.
According to the website, Mmegi was “born in 1968”, founded by Patrick Van Rensburg at Swaneng Hill Secondary School in Serowe. It was one of the school projects of Patrick Van Rensburg. Later in 1980, when he left for Zimbabwe for further education, Mmegi wa Dikgang stopped the operations. The newspaper project was revived after he came back in 1984. It was then, Mmegi was given a new look, tabloid format, and was relocated to Gaborone from Serowe.
During that time, a not-for-profit organization owned Mmegi. Hence, it heavily relied on funding for its operations besides little revenue from advertising and sales. By 1986, the funding dried up and it became difficult to sustain Mmegi.
As a result, Mmegi Publishing Trust (MPT) was formed. Michael Dingake, Marx Mophuting, Burton Nguni, Modise Maphanyane and Bojosi Otlhogile were founding members of the trust.
The website of Mmegi caters to the interests of its readers through stories of sections such as News, Lifestyle, Sports, Business, World, Feature besides Opinion & Analysis and Blogs.
“Mmegi is the leading independent source of breaking news, latest news, current affairs, Politics, Business, Sport, debates, analysis, and entertainment news in Botswana,” the website mentions in the About Us section.
While Oarabile Mosikar is the Editor, Titus Mbuya is the Managing Director of Mmegi.
The Voice, founded on February 12, 1993, is a tabloid-styled newspaper in Botswana. It was established in Francistown, the second largest city and was named The Francistowner Extra. Later in 1999, it established offices in Gaborone, the capital city.
According to the About Us section on the The Voice’s Facebook page, it is owned by The Francistowner (Pty) Ltd. Voice Woman is its supplement. The Voice mostly carries human interest stories.
The weekly newspaper later came up with its digital edition. Its tagline is ‘Speak For Itself’. It is available on various social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter besides YouTube.
Sunday Standard’s tagline is “Excellence Is Standard Practice”. It is a member of the Botswana Press Council. It is headquartered in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.
Sections Of News
The website caters to the interests of its readers via different sections such as News, Business, Lifestyle, In-Depth, Sports and Opinions. “While maintaining an independent Editorial Policy, Sunday Standard shall not publish articles, pictures, items or any such excerpts that will undermine the country’s culture of tolerance, mutual existence and discrimination,” writes the website in its About Us section.
One can follow Sunday Standard on Facebook and Twitter for latest news and alerts.
Patriot on Sunday
The Patriot on Sunday, founded in 2012, is a weekly newspaper published in Botswana. It is published on Sundays and the newspaper is partly owned by parliamentarian Mpho Balopi. The Patriot on Sunday is headquartered in Gaborone, the capital city.
The tagline on the website on The Patriot on Sunday says, “Balanced & Fair”.
The website offers news to its readers from different sections such as Business, Sports, Lifestyle.
One can suggest stories by writing to them at email@example.com. The Patriot on Sunday is available on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook along with YouTube.
Headquartered in Gaborone, Weekend Post was founded in 2011. According to the About Us section of its Facebook page, it is the first Saturday publication of Bostwana. It also operates in Francistown.
“WEEKENDPOST hardcopy is a media platform that serves consumers and advertisers in the Botswana market. The online version of the Weekend Post predominantly targets the international markets but also caters for the local market,” according to Weekend Post’s website.
For the latest news and alerts, one can follow Weeked Post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is also available on YouTube. Readers can write to the editor of Weekend Post at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
AllAfrica is a website that aggregates, produces and distributes “800 news and information items daily from over 130 African news organisations” and their own reporters. The website carries all news related to Botswana under a section. AllAfrica has its offices in Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Monrovia, Nairobi, and Washington DC.
The Botswana Guardian, founded in 1982, is an English language newspaper that is published on a weekly basis. Headquarter of the Botswana Guardian is in Gaborone and it is published on every Thursday by CBET Ltd. The Botswana Guardian also has a website, tagline of which says: “Fearless And Responsible”.
Business – Botswana Guardian
The Botswana Guardian‘s website has a category of Business, under which it covers all the news related to finance and companies.
The Midweek Sun is a newspaper published by CBET (PTY) LTD. The same company also owns another newspaper, Botswana Guardian. The Midweek Sun was established in 1989, according to its Facebook page. One can follow The Midweek Sun on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook for the latest news.
Botswana Unplugged is an online news portal and a lifestyle magazine based in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. Published by the WindRush Communications (PTY) Ltd & Maverick Maven Co (PTY) Ltd, Botswana Unplugged has a tagline: “The News| The Beat| The Style”. The Botswana Unplugged has sections like Travel, Celeb, Music, Sport and Lifestyle.
Gabz-FM is a radio station that was established on 20th October 1999. It is one of the oldest commercial radio stations of Botswana.
The tagline of Gabz FM is “Power To Engage Your World”. According to its website, target audience of Gabz-FM is between the age group of 24 to 55 years.
The Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), founded in 1965, is an independent organisation. The year it was established, the Botswana National Football Association was its only member affiliate. For funds, it relied on private donors and Bechuanaland National Sports Appeal Fund. The BNSC is also a member of the African Union Sports Council.
The newspapers, magazines and news websites in Botswana are robust in nature. There are no government restrictions though the ruling government ensures they have a good relation with the authority. The government, though, openly control the broadcast media but claims it is not abused by the government officials.
Besides the prominent newspapers, magazines and Botswana news websites, which are majorly owned by the private investors, the African country has a government-owned domestic news agency. The Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) is the only local news agency reporting the events from within the boundaries of Botswana besides foreign news agencies, such as South African Press Association and Reuters.
According to the Botswana independence constitution, originally since September 1966 with amendments in August and September, 1997, the citizens are guaranteed freedom of expression. Journalists hold no license and don’t need to register for reporting in Botswana.
No bonds are allowed to be signed between newspapers and its journalists. There is no censorship either for the journalists or for any newspaper, magazine or news website. However, as per community standards, the journalists and media houses avoid publishing anything that is obscene or offensive in nature.
Journalists from the foreign media are also free to operate freely in Botswana.
While the propelling industry knows no bounds, we at MediaBuzz are working hard to provide encyclopedic coverage of all the news sources. We are a team of professional writers with a knack for the trends in the world of journalism.
We are always looking for suggestions to produce a more concise list.
Please help us with your answers for the below questions in the comment section.
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