Gabz FM Institutional profile

Gabz FM Institutional profile

Date: July 1, 2013
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Creating advocacy platforms

If the media does not give women the space to voice out on their issues, no one will.

Gabz-FM is an adult contemporary radio station. The station broadcasts nationally via terrestrial transmission and globally via Internet. Its reach covers Gaborone and seven other major population centres. The broadcast catchment’s area represents the most densely populated, the most developed and the most economically active area of Botswana.

Being one of the oldest commercial radio stations in Botswana, Gabz-FM has branded itself as the heart and soul of adult contemporary music. The
programming targets adults aged 25 years and older.

The programming constitutes 20% talk and 80% music.
Guided by the broadcasting Board, Gabz-FM is compliant with English and Setswana mix in all the station’s programs. English is the principal language used to communicate; however, Setswana is also incorporated in the content to ensure extended reach.

In 2010 and 2011, Gabz FM was presented with a PMR Africa Diamond Arrow award for being the best overall local radio station in news and current affairs. Late 2011, the station was awarded the following Media Institute of Southern Africa awards; Overall Winner of best news and current affairs show (Morning Show) Overall Winner of best news reader of the year (Bay Tsimane).

Gabz FM became part of the Media COE for Gender mainstreaming upon signing the memorandum of understanding with Gender Links on 11th August 2011. The media house has so far completed the first four stages of the centres of excellence process, and has drafted a gender policy waiting to be adopted.

With the proportion of women sources standing at 9% in 2010, the radio station had not been doing well in terms of gender mainstreaming in their news content. Before the institution became part of the COE process, male voices dominated the air waves and gender issues were hardly considered to be news worthy. With very low representation of women in the institutional structure, women’s issues rarely came up during the news diaries and editorial meetings.

With the intervention from Gender Links, the institution has managed to restructure their news and production content, making it more gender aware. So far, the institution has managed to set up programmes which profile women in all sections of society. The programme is called “the Platform” and is a phone in programme which enables a lot of audience participation.

In advocating for the signing and adoption of the SADC protocol by the Botswanan Government, the institution has been providing platforms to women’s advocacy groups to speak on such issues. This has been a deliberate step taken to enhance women’s participation in the media. “At Gabz Fm, we believe that if the media does not provide such spaces for the women to speak out, no one will,” said Mike Olivier – News editor.

Though gender is not considered a beat yet, there have been some deliberate efforts within the institution to ensure that all stories are approached with a gender perspective. Both male and female Journalists are now being encouraged to cover non-traditional areas of reporting, and this approach has enabled journalists have clear understandings of other areas considered beats. At the moment, gender based violence issues are being covered by a male reporter and editor Tswelelo Mogotsi.

There have been a few challenges being faced by the institution, which have made the Gender mainstreaming process quite slow. One being that of financial resources to hire new staff and purchase equipment. This has been a major setback, especially if the institution has to increase women’s representation in all departments.

The absence of a well-defined gender policy has also made it difficult for the institution to design gender aware programmes. This also relates to sexual harassment in the work place. So far, this is a silent issue in the institution, and with no policy in place or a clause present in the institutional code of conduct, the issue is left unresolved.

The self-monitoring and evaluation tool designed by Gender Links has not been put to full use, mainly because there was no specific person identified to carry out the task. The institution has however identified an intern to carry out the monitoring.

It was clear that in the absence of an overall gender policy and framework, there cannot be any serious editorial policy on the portrayal of women in the media and on coverage of gender issues. There is an urgent need to finalise gender policies in media houses and also to lobby for their adoption.




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