By Kabelo Mollo
I recently saw a quote on Twitter that read “life is moving at several Haibo’s a minute” and quite frankly I’ve yet to find a more apt summary of our lives at the moment. I had barely had my morning green tea when I got a WhatsApp asking me to confirm whether the rumours were true about the impending shake up in the political landscape.
I thought the person who was asking was talking about the looming motion of parliament that occurred this past week, and because I expected the status quo to remain, I poured cold water over the suggestion that there was any kind of seismic shift on the horizon. Not long after that I exclaimed “Haibo” as a Facebook friend intimated ntate Matekane, the philanthropic billionaire would be throwing his hat in the minefield that is Lesotho’s body politic. When a third and fourth person chimed in confirming they’d heard the rumour too I figured smoke is seldom without Fire.
The following day at a MISA/LCA training for journalists I was dumbfounded as I discovered how antiquated the laws governing the media in this country are. We let off a collective “Haibo” as media practitioners when it was pointed out to us that actually according to the law, media personnel were not permitted in the august house. Some had to swallow humble pie as they realised that the law enforcement agencies they had encountered run ins with were on the right side of the law. In that same presentation I learned that sending and sharing of explicit sexual content is prohibited by law. In layman’s terms sharing nudes could land you in hot legal soup. Make of that, what you will…
Last week I made a tongue-in-cheek statement that media practitioners were suddenly in demand. Where it was journalists struggling to get ahold of politicians not so long ago, it is now politicians struggling to pin down members of the fourth estate. How quickly the wheel of life turns, and what’s even funnier is that interest is only going to intensify in the next 6 or 7 months. Don’t be surprised when you see your favourite journos sipping single malts and not the quart sized beers your used to. I have lamented the broadcaster and media owner experience in the Kingdom, but it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. I’m only half joking to be honest. I wish it were like this all the time.
A free press with access to any and all people of interest is a good thing. A press that isn’t withstanding constant verbal and physical threats is one that can be an effective ally for Joe Public in terms of dissemination of information. It can ask difficult, hard hitting questions when needed, but can also broadcast good news stories when available.
Something caught my eye this week and I wished journalists and the media at large would ventilate it to the nth degree. A popular brand embarked on a CSI project that for me wasn’t clear. Was the CSI project to assist an existing customer, or was it remuneration for a past oversight? Was it neither and an act of altruism that benefited all involved? Haibo, what a benevolent gesture if it was the former, while if it were the latter then, surely many questions must be asked?
I mentioned the MISA/LCA training earlier. I was so pleased our regulator as well as media body had such a timely intervention. With elections coming up it’s very important we are capacitated to run efficient news rooms and deliver the right messages to an interested public. Another Haibo that caught my attention at said event was a lively debate that I inadvertently sparked when I insisted that some of the content that we peddle on our platforms ought to be advertorial paid for by the entity we were giving the publicity. It is my assertion that there’s a thin line between news and free publicity. It is also my view that too many of our corporate partners have fudged the lines such that we no longer know which is which. I hope that practice comes to a halt and that we figure out a more fair way of engaging going forward.
My final Haibo is the realisation that struck me the other morning during my morning workout, and that was that too many people are chomping at the bit to be free of wearing masks. People, with the fifth wave looming, as well general winter illnesses like flu etc, why would you not want to continue with the mask mandate?! Even for those of fully vaxxed and loyal to the Sankatana products I still encourage wearing masks! I reckon I’m going to wear mine for the next two years at least! I can hear many exclaiming “HAIBO!”