MISA Lesotho commemorate WPFD with launch of Radio Moeling
17 May 2015
The Lesotho chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) marked the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2015, with the launch of Butha-Buthe community’s radio station: Moeling FM in the Butha-Buthe district (north of Lesotho).
The radio station is the country’s fourth community radio after Motjoli FM (Thaba-Tseka Community Radio), Mafeteng Community Radio and DoPE FM of the National University of Lesotho.
The event was graced with the presence of the newly appointed Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Khotso Letsatsi, Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) Chief Executive Office Mr Manehela Phosholi, Head of Media and Research of the Institute of Extra Mural Studie, Mrs. Mabela Khabele, Butha-Buthe District Administrator Mr Lehlohonolo Qhasho, Moeling FM inventor; Mr. Taoana Lerole and MISA Lesotho National Director; Mr. Tsebo Mats’asa.
Moeling FM is the brainchild of Taoana Lerole; a radio set repairer from Mabothile (a village on the out skirts of Butha-Buthe town). Lerole, a Standard 6 dropout put together pieces of radio sets together to build his radio station in 2012 and went on air the same year.The radio was taken off air a short while after it started broadcasting as it was operating without a license.
It is illegal for anyone to operate a radio station in Lesotho without registering it with the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA). The radio station also did not have standard equipment. The radio station was operating from Lerole’s family home with the antenna mounted on a tree at the back of the house with a transmitter pieced together from a DVD player.
In an effort to assist Lerole in seeing his dream of having a radio station operating from his home town the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Commission in Lesotho assisted with funding. Since UNESCO does not normally assist individual projects, the Commission advised the community of Butha-Buthe to support and join Lerole’s project through their indigenous groups in the district in order to secure funding.
UNESCO thereafter handed the funding for the project to MISA Lesotho so that the organisation could assist the community of Buthe-Buthe in designing and building the radio’s studio. The station is situated in a staff residential house of the office of the District Administrator (DA) which had been unoccupied for more than a year. The DA decided to allow the community to house the radio station
Besides providing support for the establishment of the studio, MISA Lesotho also provided governance training for the board members of Moeling FM which would guide them on running a community radio station. MISA Lesotho also provided training for the newly appointed radio presenters with the sole purpose of equipping the volunteers with skills to professionally produce programmes of good quality.
During the celebration, Lerole was also awarded a certificate and trophy in recognition of his innovation and the admiration it is going to bring to the community of Butha-Buthe by the office of Butha-Buthe District Administrator’s office.
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