In an effort to create awareness to the Basotho nation about the importance of radio in promoting access to information, the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU) in partnership with MISA Lesotho commemorated the World Radio Day on Monday 27th February, 2017.
In view of this years’ theme: “RADIO IS YOU,” the two partners organized a media forum which sought to discuss the development of community media in Lesotho with particular interest to the involvement of the people in their development. Prior to the forum, MISA-Lesotho undertook a mini study on governance, management and development of four community radio in Lesotho, namely Mafeteng and Moeling (Botha Bothe) community radios which were established by UNESCO as well as Motjoli (Thaba-Tseka) and Dope (National University of Lesotho) community radios.
During the forum, MISA-Lesotho shared findings of the study they undertook which highlighted the following issues common to the four:
Poor management of radios due to inexperienced and untrained managers
Conflict of interests among board members of some community radios
Unprofessional media staff as some of them lack journalism training
Poor marketing strategies which pose a serious threat to the sustainability of community radios.
Acting Minister of Communications Hon. 'Matumelo Sekatle delivering a key note address to the World Radio Day forum
Another highlight of the seminar was the presentations that were made by community radio station managers on the state of their radio stations. Their presentations highlighted the involvement and participation of their communities in their policy formulation- much to the delight of the gathering as that reflected one of the core principles on which community radios are build. It was however learnt that although the community radio stations were having some challenges, there was considerable progress in terms of sustainability, income generation and stability especially among those that were supported by UNESCO. On that note, the forum concluded that MISA findings and the presentations by the radio station managers should be considered by LNCU and MISA as informing capacity building programme of the community radio stations at the post WRD commemoration.
The forum was graced with the presence of the acting Minister of Communications- Honourable ‘Matumelo Sekatle, who hailed local radios for the important role they play as the “fourth estate” due to its oversight role to the government, legislature and judiciary. She further warned radios to avoid being politicised but rather to focus on developmental and issues of immediate public interest.
Secretary General- Ms Palesa Montsi reading UNESCO statement in the event
Also in attendance to the forum were the LNCU Secretary General- Ms. Palesa Montši and MISA-Lesotho director, Mr. Tsebo Matšasa and representatives of the media fraternity in the country.