Gaborone — Media graduates on attachment at the Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) have been implored to strive to produce local content for the airwaves.
The plea came from Minister of Transport and Communications Mr Thulagano Segokgo during the launch of the graduate training programme on Wednesday.
The programme follows the signing last year of a Memorandum of Agreement between DBS and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).
Its aim is to empower the youth and help put them in a better position to create employment opportunities for themselves and their peers.
Mr Segokgo said the few local programmes aired on Botswana Television that Batswana identified with were not enough.
He said as the graduates embarked on a three-year training programme, they should go all-out to create content that would build loyalty among Batswana viewership, keeping them glued to their television screens.
"I implore you to work hard and come to a point where local content would dominate airwaves for all local media houses. We need our own local soap operas, drama, reality shows and documentaries among others," he said.
Mr Segokgo said over the past two years, commercial radio stations had managed to achieve the 40 per cent local content quota set by BOCRA since such operations started in 1998.
That, he said, should challenge graduates to strive to amass as much practical experience as possible as well as commitment to tell local stories.
Mr Segokgo noted that over the years, Batswana had been exposed to other African broadcast content mainly because their products offered practical experience.
He therefore urged the trainees to produce content that addressed the needs of other young people.
Additionally, he said at the end of the programme, they should have gained experience that would enable them to come up with sound proposals for funding so as to set up their own businesses.
Mr Segokgo expressed gratitude to BOCRA and Universal Access and Service Funds (UASF) for their continued efforts towards youth development.
He said USAF had employed 68 youth information technology graduates in 2018 to facilitate and support the use of ICT provided to schools in Ghanzi District.
In recognition of their expertise, he said, government requested renewal of their contracts which ended in January.
In BOCRA's case, Minister Segokgo said to date the organisation had employed 106 youths.
Four of them were IT developers currently deployed at BOCRA head office to undertake the development of robust mobile SIMCARD registration in collaboration with Botswana Institute of Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI).
For her part, BOCRA board chairperson Ms Tsaone Thebe said following the signing of the agreement, a recruitment process ensued and out of 833 applicants, only 20 were selected.
Ms Thebe said the programme officially started on April 1 and would remain under the tutelage of experienced broadcast practitioners at Botswana Television.
"We expect graduates to develop enough knowledge and experience to be able to establish their own operations and employ other young people to produce much-needed content for the local and international market," she said.
Source : BOPA