Botswana has a long tradition of lively and unimpeded public debate, although opposition leaders have claimed that the government limits their ability to broadcast freely on the radio.
The constitution provides for freedom of expression and the government generally respects this right. There is a “free and vigorous” press in cities and towns, says US-based NGO Freedom House.
State-run TV arrived with the launch of Botswana Television (BTV) in 2000. Satellite pay TV is available.
Radio is an important medium. Press circulation is mostly limited to urban areas.
Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable countries, is the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record.
Sparsely populated, Botswana protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness. Safari-based tourism – tightly-controlled and often upmarket – is an important source of income.
Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.
The country has had its share of problems: It once had the world’s highest rate of HIV-Aids infection. UN figures for 2014 suggest that for adults aged 15 to 49 the prevalence rate is 25%.
The country has one of Africa’s most-advanced treatment programmes, however, and medicine for the virus is readily available.
The Republic of Botswana
Population: 2 million
Major Languages: English (official), Setswana
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 51 years (women)
Currency: Pula (1 ZAR = 0.77 BWP)
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