Ideology as News: Political Parallelism in Botswana’s Public Media

  • Letshwiti Batlhalefi B. Tutwane


This chapter discusses the manner in which the government of Botswana influences and controls the news agenda in Botswana’s public media. The chapter will show that the public media agenda is skewed in favour of the ruling party and its functionaries. This is achieved through periodic instructions to the public media journalists and reinforced by the production culture of self-censorship and executive interference. The chapter uses, inter alia, McQuail’s (McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, Sage, 2000, 491) typology of bias as both intended and unintended and his definition of it as a tendency in a news report to deviate from an accurate, neutral, balanced and impartial representation of reality. The chapter demonstrates this bias by showing the different methods of manipulation used by the government, such as redeployment of ‘undesirable’ journalists, spiking undesirable stories, interference with content by giving preferential access to ministers and the president, and through legislation, such as exemption from regulation, and by freezing broadcasts of undesirable programmes. The other methods used are denial of access to the opposition and intimidation or harassment of the private media, in the form of law suits, public condemnation or deportation of editors. The other theoretical guide for the chapter is the concept of ideology, in this case, the promotion of the dominant ideas of the ruling class. The chapter also looks at the government’s authoritarian treatment of the private press and concludes that Botswana is no different from the rest of Africa.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Letshwiti Batlhalefi B. Tutwane
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana

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