The state media in Botswana comprising Radio Botswana, Botswana Television (BTV) and the Daily News have come under heavy criticism for biased reporting over the break-up of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
A faction of the ruling party calling itself Barata Phathi has set in motion processes to break away and form a new political party citing an erosion of democracy in the party, dictatorial tendencies of the party leader President Ian Khama as well as the sidelining of members of the faction in party affairs.
Radio Botswana, BTV and the Daily News are accused of reporting only on the views of the dominant section of the party and completely shutting out the Baratha Phathi faction. The state media has never reported a single story on the envisaged split and turmoil in the party, and only carried statements from the dominant faction condemning or threatening the Barata-Phata faction members.
BTV and Radio Botswana have on occasions invited BDP members to their studios to explain their side of the story while faction members have never been invited.
In contrast the three private radio stations, Gabz FM, Yarona FM and Duma FM are reporting the story extensively giving all sides of the ruling party faction to air their views.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has advocated that state broadcasting media must be reformed into public broadcasters that will be a forum for democratic debate and serve the interests of all members of the public, and stop being mouthpieces for the ruling party and government.