Broadcasters in Lesotho agree on guidelines for election coverage
Following a five-day training workshop, from 18 to 22 July 2011, participants representing the broadcasting media in Lesotho established the Guidelines for the Coverage of Elections on Radio and TV in order to promote freedom of expression and information in the country, with a specific reference to broadcasting during an election period.
The workshop was organized by the Lesotho Communications Authority, funded by UNESCO and supported by the Lesotho Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa. The 25 participants included leading figures from the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology; the Lesotho Communications Authority; the Independent Electoral Commission; the state broadcaster; private radio stations; freelance/independent producers; the National University of Lesotho; and MISA Lesotho.
The new Guidelines will allow broadcasters of Lesotho to cover elections fairly and objectively, taking into account the existing regulatory framework. They are based on the Lesotho Broadcasting Code of Practice - Part 111, which lies within the Lesotho Communications Authority Rules of 2004, the Guidelines and Principles for Broadcast Coverage of Elections in the SADC Region, and the CBA Guidelines for Covering Elections in Small States.
It is expected that these Guidelines will positively influence journalism practice in Lesotho to ensure high professional standards and, consequently, reduce the number of broadcast complaints during election periods.
The project also contributes towards promoting legal, policy and regulatory framework, which protects and promotes freedom of expression and information, based on international best practice standards.