Home 9 Media and elections 9 SPEECH BY HON. MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS SEMINAR ORGANISED BY MISA LESOTHO ON 28TH JULY 2021

SPEECH BY HON. MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON SAFETY OF JOURNALISTS SEMINAR ORGANISED BY MISA LESOTHO ON 28TH JULY 2021

10 Aug, 2021
I AM DELIGHTED AND PRIVILEGED TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO OFFICIATE THIS IMPORTANT EVENT. WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE ARE THREATS AGAINST THE MEDIA. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER IT IS IN BROADCASTING, PRINT, OR ONLINE IN THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD. THE THREATS ARE REAL AND NEED TO BE STOPPED FORTHWITH.

HIS MAJESTY THE KING

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE PRIME MINISTER

HONOURABLE PRESiDENT OF THE SENATE

HONOURABLE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

HIS LORDSHIP CHIEF JUSTICE

HONOURABLE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

HONORABLE MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

LEADERSHIP OF MISA REGIONAL

LEADERSHIP OF MISA LESOTHO

DISTINGUISHED PARTICIPANTS

MEMBERS OF MEDIA FRATERNITY

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 

I AM DELIGHTED AND PRIVILEGED TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO OFFICIATE THIS IMPORTANT EVENT. WE ALL KNOW THAT THERE ARE THREATS AGAINST THE MEDIA. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER IT IS IN BROADCASTING, PRINT, OR ONLINE IN THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD. THE THREATS ARE REAL AND NEED TO BE STOPPED FORTHWITH.

MY FELLOW PARTICIPANTS, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA

JOURNALISTS OR MEDIA PRACTITIONERS MAY FACE VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION FOR EXERCISING THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. THEY ARE CONFRONTED WITH   RAGE OF THREATS INCLUDING MURDER, KIDNAPPING, HOSTAGE-TAKING, OFFLINE AND ONLINE HARASSMENT, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES, ARBITRARY DETENTION, AND TORTURE.

MANY OF YOU AS MEDIA PRACTITIONERS YOU MAY HAVE EXPERIENCED WORKING UNDER REPRESSIVE CONDITIONS WHERE YOU ARE NOT FREE TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION.

WE ARE HERE TODAY TO BROACH SOLUTIONS THAT MAY BRING THE GOVERNMENT, PRIVATE SECTOR, AND MEDIA SECTOR TOWARDS WORKING TOGETHER IN ADDRESSING THIS BAD BEHAVIOUR.  I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT, THE MEDIA, JOURNALISTS, AND CIVIL SOCIETY FOR THE SAFETY OF THE JOURNALISTS.

I WANT TO NOTE WITH APPRECIATION THE EFFORTS MADE BY MISA LESOTHO, THEIR PARTNERS, AND OTHER ADVOCATES OF THE MEDIA TO FORGE FOR THE RIGHTS, PROTECTION, AND WELFARE OF THE JOURNALISTS THUS FAR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SUSTAINABLE GOVERNMENTS ARE THOSE THAT UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS AND BEAR THE FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT JOURNALISTS ARE FREE TO PRACTICE THEIR PROFESSION WITHOUT INTERFERENCE OR REPRISAL BY AUTHORITIES. MOST OF ALL TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS FROM ANY QUARTERS, INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS, REGARDLESS OF THE STATUS OF THE PERPETRATORS WITHIN THE SOCIETY. THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE FEMALE JOURNALISTS WHO ARE FORCED INTO RELATIONSHIPS IN EXCHANGE FOR THEIR JOBS OR INFORMATION.

WHEN CASES OF VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS LANGUISH, AND JUSTICE IS DENIED FOR THE KILLING, BEATING, AND INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS JUST BECAUSE AUTHORITIES DO NOT LIKE WHAT THEY SAY, OR PRINT. THE RULE OF LAW IS UNDERMINED AND THIS IMPUNITY MUST END FORTHWITH.

LESOTHO AS A MEMBER OF THE AFRICAN UNION SHOULD ABIDE BY THE SEVEN ASPIRATIONS OF THE AFRICAN UNION (AU) AGENDA 2063 WHICH ADVOCATES FOR PROSPEROUS, PEACEFUL AND SECURE AFRICA. THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN PRESS FREEDOM REPORT OF 2019-2020 IDENTIFIES JOURNALISTS AS THE MAIN DRIVERS TOWARDS ACHIEVING AGENDA 2063, “THE AFRICA WE WANT” WHICH IS PROSPEROUS, PEACEFUL, AND SECURE.

FURTHERMORE, AS A MEMBER OF SADC, LESOTHO HAS RATIFIED AND COMMITTED HERSELF TO ALIGN TO SADC COMMITMENT TO REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BY RECOGNISING THE ROLE OF JOURNALISTS IN PROMOTING REGIONAL INTEGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT.

THIS COMMITMENT CLEARLY OUTLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF PLURALISTIC AND INDEPENDENT MEDIA. WE REFLECT ON OUR PLEDGE, REAFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS TO FOSTER IT AND NOT TO MUZZLE IT. WE THEREFORE OWE IT TO OURSELVES AND OUR CITIZENS TO MAKE THIS COMMITMENT A REALITY WITHOUT ANY EXCUSE OR DELAY.

WE WELCOME THE NEWS FROM NATIONAL REFORMS AUTHORITY (NRA) THAT IT HAS ADOPTED THE NATIONAL MEDIA POLICY WHICH IS THE BLUEPRINT FOR THE MEDIA FRATERNITY. FOLLOWING THE ADOPTION, THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY IN CONSULTATION WITH NRA WILL ENSURE THAT THE POLICY CATERS TO ALL AND IS IMPLEMENTABLE BEYOND THE DURATION OF NRA.

THE GOVERNMENT OF LESOTHO BELIEVES THAT THE REMEDY TO THE PRESENT CHALLENGES FACED BY JOURNALISTS IN THE COUNTRY IS TO FAST-TRACK THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MEDIA POLICY AND ALL OTHER RELEVANT TOOLS NECESSARY TO CREATE AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR MEDIA TO OPERATE.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION IS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION OF LESOTHO AND IT IS EMPHASIZED IN THE PLENARY II REPORT OF THE NRA. AND THEREFORE IMPORTANT.

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,

AS GOVERNMENT, WE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT THE POLITICAL CLIMATE IS CONDUCIVE TO THE FUNCTIONING OF INDEPENDENT AND PLURALISTIC MEDIA. CONDEMNING AND PROSECUTING THOSE WHO IMPOSE VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS IS THE ONLY WAY TO CREATE SUCH AN ENVIRONMENT.

FOSTERING OPEN, FRANK PUBLIC DIALOGUE AND DEBATE ON THE WHOLE RANGE OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN ISSUES IS ALSO CRUCIAL. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS CAN LEAD BY EXAMPLE BY RESPECTING THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN SOCIETY, EVEN AGREE TO DISAGREE WHEN ISSUES ARE BEING DISCUSSED WITHOUT ANY INTIMIDATION TO THE CONCERNED JOURNALISTS.

AS MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR COMMUNICATIONS I URGE MINISTRIES TO IMPLEMENT PUBLIC RELATIONS CADRE AS APPROVED BY THE MINISTRY OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE, MAKE DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE TO THE PRESS, AND HOLD PRESS CONFERENCES WHERE JOURNALISTS CAN ASK AND AT TIMES RECEIVE ANSWERS ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE PUBLIC DESERVES TO KNOW WHAT THEIR GOVERNMENT IS DOING.

HOWEVER, MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ARE URGED TO PUBLISH TRUE STORIES, BALANCED AND VERIFIED.  NON-PROVOCATIVE AND FAIR IN ALL RESPECTS.

I LOOK FORWARD TO THE REST OF THIS SEMINAR AND THE CONTRIBUTION IT WILL MAKE IN SUPPORT OF MEDIA FREEDOM, THE WORK OF JOURNALISTS, AND A SUCCESSFUL FUTURE FOR OUR COUNTRY AND AFRICA AS A WHOLE.

I INVITE YOU TO SHOUT IN ONE VOICE AND SAY, “STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS”.

I WISH YOU ALL FRUITFUL DELIBERATION AND I DECLARE THIS SEMINAR– OFFICIALLY OPENED.

 KHOTSO!                   PULA!                        NALA!

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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