2016 World Radio Day Celebrations
The Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO in close collaboration with Mafeteng Community radio celebrated the
2016 World Radio Day on Wednesday 24th February, 2016 in the form of a seminar that attracted the entire
media fraternity and some NGO’s and international organisations in the country.
This year’s internationally agreed theme on which the general debates centred on was
“Radio in times of disaster and emergencies”. Other sub- themes discussed were:
Freedom of expression and Journalists’ safety should be disaster proof; Radio saves lives;
and the immediate accessibility of radio frequencies is essential in saving lives. The frequencies should be protected
in times of emergency.
Stakeholders that were invited to make presentations related to the above themes were:
Disaster Management Authority-Lesotho (DMA); Red Cross; Media Institute of Southern Africa-Lesotho Chapter
(MISA-Lesotho) and Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA).
Above the rich discussions that the participants engaged in, the Communication and Information programme
coordinator was invited on live broadcast interviews in a number of local radio’s to shed light on
the importance of celebrating the World Radio Day. In some instances, listeners were asked to participate
through telephone calls. Radio stations also took it upon themselves to broadcast World Radio Day messages
on February 13th and during the time around the seminar.
The overall impression of the office is the Lesotho broadcast media has begun to seriously consider
this day as a day on which they can reflect on their work and also to call on the government to consider
their grievances especially related to policy matters
and accessibility to the government owned radio transmitters that can enable them a wider coverage.
It is also believed that the seminar created a labelled ground to improve relations between radio journalists
and all other organisations working on disasters and emergencies in the country and make them appreciate the
unique value of radio in times of disaster and emergency as radio is the only medium so far that can reach the widest audience.
Income generation, entrepreneurship, marketing and financial management workshop and the commemoration of the 2016 World Press Freedom Day
In an effort to wrap up training activities at Mafeteng Community radio (MCR) within the framework of
the UNESCO/ Swedish International Development Agency project, UNESCO Windhoek office sponsored two events
in Lesotho between April and May, 2016. The first activity was just a buildup on strengthening sustainability
of Mafeteng community radio through capacity building in income generation, entrepreneurship, marketing and
financial management. The other activity was the commemoration of the 2016 World Press Freedom Day.
The workshop on the sustainability of MCR was facilitated by radio riverside (South Africa) station manager
and marketing manager from 18th to 22nd April, 2016. About twenty participants including radio staff and
members of the board took part in the workshop. The workshop sought to address MCR’s sustainability
challenges and provide skills and knowledge on entrepreneurship and income generation. Furthermore,
participants were exposed to various marketing strategies that could be explored
within the district that can also enhance the sustainability of the station.
It can be argued that the above workshop has borne fruitful results for the radio station.
This is premised on the fact that the station is now generating more revenue than before,
hence brightening sustainability prospects. Some of the wide range of merchandise that the radio has for
both marketing and revenue collection purposes include but not limited to the following: branded cups,
key holders, beverages opener & caps. The station has also improved its daily programming
which has in turn attracted more advertisements hence more revenue collection.
Mafeteng community radio was further involved in the organization of the WPFD as well as producing
awareness messages to their listeners which were centred on this years’ theme:
“ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMAS: THIS IS YOUR RIGHT!” This international day was proclaimed by
the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference
in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991
produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media and independence.
In Lesotho, for the past few years this day was celebrated by launching community radios funded by UNESCO.
Similarly, this years celebrations on the 7th May in the district of Quthing were symbolized with handing
over of community radio equipment to the district community by Media Institute of Southern Africa- Lesotho
Chapter (MISA Lesotho) support under its project: Access to information Through Establishment of Community Radio Stations,
financially supported by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
The district was selected to contribute to the preservation of its multi- linguistics’ nature and cultural diversity.
Quthing district has three main tribes, Baphuthi, Xhosa and
Thepu which each speak a different language.
The Media personnel present at the event pleaded with the government to ratify the media policy
which has been tabled to the minister of communications and cabinet for over a decade now. Participants
felt that the policy would guarantee freedom of expression and ensure that freedom of the media is effectively protected and promoted.
However, there was a general feeling that the government felt that the policy will take away a lot of power from government.
Generally freedom of expression and freedom of the media are exercised in Lesotho even though there is no
legislation that deals explicitly with such freedoms except the constitution which states that
“every person shall be entitled to, and shall not be hindered in his enjoyment of freedom of expression;
including freedom to hold opinions without interferences, freedom to receive ideas and information”…