Friday

Lesotho Media: Free From State Harassment

The media in Lesotho is considered relatively free from direct government harassment, threats, assassinations, restrictive legislation, censorship and expulsion, a media law audit has revealed. The research, aimed at reviewing laws that restrict the media freedom in Lesotho, shows however that despite their freedom, the media failed to exploit its relatively positive working environment through its lack of professionalism, the Lesotho News Agency (LENA) reports.
[ Read on... ]
I couldn't agree more. Lesotho journalism might be free from government meddling, but then Lesotho journalism is practically non-existent. I do not mean to speak negatively about the men and women who are diligently doing their journalistic work; that such people are few, however, remains a fact. Our modern era has bestowed on us innumerable tools that facilitate the work of the information giver as well as the information receiver. When I was a child I read days-old newspapers: I rarely had the priviledge of reading a same-day issue of the Rand Daily Mail, although we did get the Sunday Times on Sunday. My point is that today we have tools that allow me to read same-hour, breaking news from Swaziland, Sweden and Switzerland. There is no excuse for not getting the information out to the people early enough and often enough. This very weblog you're reading is an example of just such a tool. For almost zero lisente I can write and publish and be read within the half-hour.

Yet Lesotho on-line news providers are constantly off-line. I've just about given up on trying to get "news" from them, and I'm wondering whether I shouldn't remove their links from my weblogs. I used to regularly click on Mopheme's link, but it's been dead for longer than I care to remember. Then there's the Public Eye. The link works, but the news is stale. How stale? Four years. Even the Lesotho News Agency site has stale news. Sometimes you see news from March 4, or any other date, and wonder what year that was. We know LENA report, because the piece I've quote above is from them. But where do they report? How can the person in the street get fresh Lesotho news from Lesotho news providers?

The news I get from AllAfrica is neither detailed nor relevant enough. I want to know how the Qoaling constituency did in a given election, how the Maseru City Council intends to get rid of garbage and filth in our streets, whether the government is going to make condoms available for free to the general public, and so on. The BBC and AllAfrica don't tell me that. I was hoping LENA and the other electronic papers would. Although On Lesotho is a personal weblog, initially with personal objectives and run by personal effort and conviction, although the initial format was based on taking a contentious or important issue and commenting on it, with a large dose of objectivity and a smaller one of subjectivity, although these were the initial intentions, I've recently watched myself publish news without commenting on it, simply because it was important for Lesotho and the world would have a hard time finding it out.