Media and elections

Media and elections

Live Simultaneous Election Broadcast for Professional Reporting

In the recently held National Assembly Election on the 3rd June, 2017, MISA Lesotho with the support of Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA), embarked in a rather innovative initiative titled Multi-media Election Reporting Project. The project comprised of training of journalists and coordinated trainees in reporting the elections through 12 radio stations Live Simultaneous Election Broadcast (LSEB).

LSEB occurred through deployment of 40 journalists – four in each of the 10 districts of Lesotho – who reported electoral process live through MISA Lesotho broadcasting studio. This style of the election broadcast was first done during the second Lesotho snap elections in 2015 as MISA Lesotho contribution towards peaceful holding of the elections in the troubled country of two million people.

Owing to turbulent political situation under which the elections were held, it was obvious that media houses in the country were overwhelmed and ended up taking clear political lines which compromised the electorates’ freedom to make independent political choices through unbiased reports.

The LSEB was designed to ensure that during the six election reporting hours, elections report were carried a by a team of well trained journalists on the electoral code of the media so as to achieve provision of credible and none politically polarised election.

Date

2nd June, 2017

Time

5pm to 6pm

Reports focus

Assessment of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) readiness; were of the poling stations equipped with necessary electoral material, equipment and staff in terms of the law, the feeling of political party agents and general feeling of the electorate, and level of security in and around polling stations.

3rd June, 2017

7am to 8am

Assessment of Punctuality on commencement of voting process, turnout of voters, level of calmness and general environment at the poling stations, presence of local and international observers and other stakeholders like the media, researchers etc.

3rd June, 2017

1pm to 2pm

Assessment of IEC efficiency in rolling out the electoral process,   voter turnout against the voter roll, and general environment since morning.

3rd June, 2017

5pm to 6pm

Assessment of general environment throughout the day, views of the general public, observer missions, and other strategic stakeholders in the electoral process.

4th June, 2017

7am to 8am

Electoral results and assessment of level of acceptance among political leaders, and general environment

The project provides more than just media coverage, but focused reporting with highest observance of relevant laws as the media reports are critical in determining environment. Immediate reaction of the LSEB was evident during and after the elections where media reports, local and observer mission declare the media’s role as having been professional contributed to peaceful holding of the elections. This was not the case in the year 2012 and 2012. The media was slammed of being political polarised and unprofessional that warranted intervention that go beyond training. The LSEB audio and video reports were also posted on a specially made MISA Lesotho portal on lesotho.misa.org .