Monday, August 3, 2009

Statement by the Director DBS, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, in response to various media reports alleging so-called `militarization` at BTV

source: Republic of Botswana (1/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 19 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

D4) 16/7/09: Statement by the Director DBS, Mogomotsi Kaboeamodimo, in response to various media reports alleging so-called "militarization" at BTV:

It has become obvious that there is a sustained campaign to discredit the state broadcaster, the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) by some of our local Press.

It is in this context that a number of recent articles have contained factual errors and untruths along with misleading commentary about the appointment of the new General Manager at Botswana Television. Writers claim to have heard from what they position as ghost (mis) informers from inside Botswana Television (BTV). DBS and BTV in particular cannot be represented by an individual or persons who appear to have no capacity for civil behaviour, let alone professional conduct.

While I am not keen to engage in rebuttals against fellow media practitioners , in this instance I find it necessary to correct allegations of some 'militarization of the state media' and suggestions that the newly appointed General Manager of BTV may have been forced upon the station by an authority external to DBS.

I am happy to set the record straight and to hopefully redeem some of my media colleagues from unsafe speculation. I will also address the insinuation that the General Manager's appointment may have demonstrated a lack of confidence in the leadership of BTV.

There is definitely no militarization of DBS whatsoever. The appointment of the new Head of Station, who happens to be a former senior police officer, has nothing to do with the military, the Office of The President, or for that matter a lack of confidence in the present senior management of BTV. It is a leadership intervention to enhance management capacity at the station. It came about at my request and discretion after a thorough assessment of history and needs of the station.

I was on my way out to a pre-arranged leadership forum in Beijing, where I am presently, when the details of the appointment were concluded. We had been preparing for a Performance Management and Strategic Management (Balanced Score Card) process that has since started on July 13th 2009 at the Mass Media Complex. It was therefore in order for me to introduce the new General Manager to the station, so that he could participate in our Balanced Score Card process, as he is currently doing.

When I introduced the General Manager, Mr. Molefhe Sejoe, to the DBS Executive Committee, I laid forth specific key challenges that he would help us deal with. These include management and maximum utilization of the resources that we have (both people and facilities), improvement of internal working processes, improvement of the working environment for our hard-working staff, and of course to help instil discipline in our ranks.

I have all the confidence in the staff and current leadership of BTV to work with the General Manager in tackling these issues. I find it hypocritical of colleagues in the media to be agitating against enlisting the skill and services of members of the disciplined forces. The fact is present day journalism is itself a mixed bag of characters and backgrounds.

At BTV, as at other media houses in Botswana, we have 'fugitives' from teaching, agriculture, nursing, social welfare, the Clergy, athletes, even comedians and clowns. Nobody was born into any profession. What right do some, therefore, have to pontificate against the credentials of retired police, or for that matter army officers? Many of these gentlemen and ladies have a track record of distinguished and disciplined service to our economy as engineers, communication and broadcasting specialists, pilots, nurses, fire fighters and so on. In this respect, I have every intention for BTV to draw from the police senior leadership experience of our new General Manager.

As it is with our certificates, degrees and many years of media practice, some media practitioners still fail the basics of the professionalism that they claim. They defame people; after one phone call rush to publish without verification; misspell and mispronounce common people and place names - we say things like "indiktment" for indictment, 'determyne for determine, strange phrases like "perpetrating the law"; while choosing to be deaf or blind to newsworthy situations when it suits them in preference for quick selling controversies.

Why don't we instead get our own house in order before we cast aspersions on other professions? 'Let he who is without sin throw the first stone'.

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