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THE MEDIA AFRICA ANNUAL_digital

34 Southern Africa Botswana – A diamond in the rough A thriving economy is allowing for a diversity of media outlets with significant adspend. With a population of just over 2 million and a robust economy dominated by mining, tourism and cattle, the landlocked Republic of Botswana is one of the continent’s richest nations. Alarmingly, once regarded as the global model of democracy, press freedom has now become a contentious issue, with editorial independence in both state and private media compromised, according to a 2015 Freedom House report. Botswana boasts a thriving print sector, with a range of independent newspapers and magazines published in the capital. The widest-circulated newspaper, the state-owned Daily News – printed in English and Setswana, the two official languages – is free and is the only newspaper available in rural areas. Among the 13 private newspapers, Mmegi is the only other daily, owned by the largest and most influential private media company in the country. Most newspapers are mainly accessible in Gaborone, but are also readily available online. The most popular include Bots247, Botswana Guardian, Echo, Midweek Sun and The Monitor. Newer publications include the Global Post (in Chinese and English) and the Telegraph. Local magazines include a fair range of lifestyle, trade and specialist, such as the environmental mag Wena, Hotel and Tourism, Lapologa for the youth market, and the state-published Kutlwano. Official figures for print media have been unavailable since 2009. The state dominates broadcast media. Botswana Television (Btv) broadcasts nationwide and is also accessible in the Southern African region. The private e-Botswana (formerly the Gaborone Broadcasting Corporation TV) has limited reach, though pay television is accessible through DStv, and free-to-air channels via satellite decoders such as Philibao. Btv is the popular choice for Batswana, with 30% preferring to watch SABC channels and less than 10% preferring subscription channels. Of the five radio stations, three are private: YaRona FM, Gabz FM, Duma FM. Radio Botswana 1 and 2 are government-owned, the latter being a commercial station. All stations broadcast countrywide, with reception difficulties in outlying areas, although some stations have begun streaming their content online. Interestingly, community media is barred by legislation. Internet access is rare outside cities, the costs unaffordable for many. According to the African Barometer Report, an estimated “Mobile connections have become virtually ubiquitous in Botswana, where the number of consumers with more than one cellular connection is so high that penetration is already either over or very close to 100%.” – LYN Jones THEMEDIA AFRICA ANNUAL 2016


THE MEDIA AFRICA ANNUAL_digital
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