On Thursday 01 February, 2018, MISA Lesotho addressed the Lesotho Parliament Portfolio Committee of theLaw and Public Safety Cluster on theestablishment of a National Reforms Commission Bill of 2018.
The occasion that was cast live on Lesotho Television and Facebook Live (Refer to MISA Lesotho Facebook page) occurred at the National Assembly of Lesotho Chamber with key issue being mainstreaming of media in the bill to ensure that the commission will achieve development of laws on media freedom.
MISA Lesotho delegation brought to attention of the committee that the bill’s objective omitted media reforms as opposed to SADC categorically recommending that the reforms should include information and media.
Therefore the delegation submission to the committee was that the bill should have, under section on Objectives of the Bill, a clause that reads as follows;
“Media sector is strengthened to have law that facilitates repeal of draconian laws on the media and provide for establishment of strong institutions to self and co-regulate the sector while it operates in a free and conducive environment.“
MISA Lesotho argues that inclusion of the clause is important as it ensures that the commission comes up with media law as the sector is operating under legislation that is not in step with internationally recommended standard and principles of the media.
According to MISA Lesotho the reforms presents an opportunity to realize media policy advocacy that the organization has been engaged in for over a decade without success.
“It will therefore be one of important indicators of success for the reforms to come up with a law that responses to the interests, needs, rights and freedoms of the media for the betterment of the people of Lesotho”, so said Tsebo Mats’asa, National Director of MISA Lesotho.
Another major submission was that bill should, under Commission’s Secretariat that will ensure publicity and information management of the Commissions activities as it that will address political polarization in the Lesotho media.
MISA Lesotho argued that of such a department should be well equipped with professional and efficient staff so that they do only provide information to the nation, but also monitor media reports to make sure that commission’s work is no jeopardized by unprofessional reporting which had landed Lesotho to political instability that led to legal reforms..
Legal Reforms project for the government of Lesotho was recommended by Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to restore peace, stability, rule of law, good governance and media freedom.
MISA Lesotho delegation comprised of Chairperson Mr. Boitume loKoloi, Secretary Billy Ntaote, Treasurer Celinah Leteketa and National Director Tsebo Mats’asa