Media policy revisited

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By Teboho Serutla

The National Reforms Authority today convened a Stakeholders Engagement Forum on the Draft Media Policy of 2009.

The Forum was intended to create a platform for dialogue on the Draft Media Policy (2009) as part of the on-going media sector reforms, which the country is currently immersed with.

Once adopted, the media policy will lay the foundation for the following fundamental issues for the media sector:

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  •  Adoption of a media code of conduct and practice – issues of ethical conduct and practice;
  •  An effective media regulatory framework – issues of setting parameters within which media operates;
  •  A transformation that is desirable for the media industry – a change paradigm in the media sector, especially correction non-functioning areas;
  •  The desired character of the media in a fast-changing media and communication sphere and;
  •  Protection of consumers of media content – viewers, listeners and readers,

The media industry, media advocacy organisations and the government began the process of formulating a policy that would be a guiding tool for the media sector of Lesotho more than two decades ago. This was to facilitate the sector’s catalytic role within a society that is undergoing a democratic consolidation. But the process has been stalled for more than two decades.

During the multi-sector reforms, which unfolded recently, discussions at the various sector breakaway sessions, leadership forums and multi-stakeholder plenaries unanimously raised a concern about the media sector not having a guiding tool in the form of a policy. This prompted the implementing body then to place formation of a media policy as a priority among many reform issues within the media sector.