A beaming smile glitters on the media practitioners after the National Assembly this week adopted the National Media Policy 2021 after a long-drawn battle of some 24 years.
The Media Institute of Southern African (MISA LESOTHO) lauded Parliament for adopting the media policy projected to bring change to the national media landscape.
The statement published by MISA Lesotho disclosed that to attain the achievement a group of media practitioners, personnel, educators and advocacy agencies joined hands, while the dream began back in 1997 when the desire to ensure freedom of media Lesotho started.
“At face value, it had looked like adoption of the policy would have not been much of a hurdle as the policy is an all-encompassing tool that will ensure professionalization and the smooth running of media affairs. However, what was to follow was long periods strife, advocacy, lobbying and intense fighting for the due adoption of the policy by different stakeholders with MISA Lesotho,” said MISA.
“Our fore-bearers, who departed from this earth before physically seeing the fruits of their toil, should be smiling from heavenly places, while those still with us must be filled with immense pride and jubilations at the news of the adoption of the National Media Policy,” explained MISA.
MISA Lesotho further commended the stakeholders that worked hard to ensure the success of the achievement.
“It is MISA-Lesotho’s hope that all relevant parties will continue to demonstrate patronage and political will to ensure the ultimate fruition of the National Reforms Agenda with particular focus on the Media Reforms,” MISA said.
MISA also displayed its fervent hope for the transparency of media reforms and all other pieces of legislation, MISA pointed out its awaiting of the laws building the media law that enables freedom of media and suitable atmosphere for media practitioners.
MISA made a call to all other sectors to contribute in the support of National Reforms agenda as it is the last hope of the nation to withdraw Lesotho from drowning.
In an interview with Newsday, veteran journalist, media activist and entrepreneur Tsebo Matšasa who is also one of the surviving drafters of the policy back in 1997, mentioned the development marks a step in the right direction toward freedom of the media in Lesotho and its development.
He added that it requires media practitioners to unite as per what the policy details, so that all the media stakeholders can see to the compliance with the details of the policy.
“This is the second media policy because the first one was made in 1997 and was reviewed in 2000 where the government by then wanted to capture the policy,” he said.
He mentioned that as the reason why the policy took so long to be adopted because the media practitioners wanted a different thing altogether from what the government wanted, which is a policy that would serve the interests of media not the government.
Matšasa further mentioned that the media policy will also help news consumers to know media practitioners they can trust due to their credibility. He added that the quality of news produced by those who are media practitioners will now have to be legitimate and credible so that Basotho should know who they can trust in media.