By Maleshoane Ratsebe
MISA Lesotho and the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) held a two-day capacity building workshop on elections reporting for broadcast journalists in Maseru on Thursday and Friday, last week.
The workshop was meant to equip and prepare the broadcasters ahead of the coveted 2022 National Assembly elections expected to be held latest by October.
Among others, the broadcasters were equipped with essential skills on effective elections coverage, including ways they can protect themselves and their sources during the election period; their responsibility as the media to both their content consumers, as well as the ethical and legal guidelines they must always comply with while reporting on elections. This to avoid slander and libel.
Speaking at the event, the LCA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nizam Goolam, urged the participating broadcasters to start familiarising themselves with the political systems of Lesotho and election processes.
“You should also make yourselves familiar with the politicians and their political parties contesting for the elections to perfect your reporting before, during and after the elections,” Mr Goolam said.
He continued: “It is important for broadcasters to keep open doors for all political parties during the election process and beyond without losing focus of who is in control of your programmes.”
Mr Goolam warned the journalists against overexcitement during the elections hype, noting they must always report objectively.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Public Relations Manager, Mr Tuoe Hantši, unpacked the Electoral Act and the Media Code of Conduct and Practice during elections.
MISA Lesotho National Director, Mr Lekhetho Makhanya Ntsukunyane, on the other hand, unpacked the National Media Policy of 2021 and gave the media reforms progress report.
Other facilitators were Ms Celina Leteketa (Lesotho National Broadcasting Service), Ms Teboho Senthebane (Media Trainer), Ms Pulane Ntjantja (Lesotho News Agency), Mr Tšiu Tšiu (Media Trainer) and Mr Kabelo Mollo (Sky Alpha HD). The facilitators covered the following areas:
• Basics of Professional Reporting
• Media Code of Conduct and Practice During Elections
• Understanding the Electoral Process
• Types of reporting specific to elections and story ideas
• Broadcasting regulation and safety of journalists in election reporting, and
• The role of broadcasting in the coverage of elections vs Audience needs for information on elections
A total of 25 broadcast journalists attended the workshop.