Officiating at the MISA Lesotho, Radio Day celebrations, on behalf of Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs. Damane said only a few radio stations are complying by paying their monthly operating licences.
She stated that letters of warning have already been written to those non-compliant radio stations, adding that a follow up will be made to remind them of their obligations.
The Principal Secretary stated that non-payment of the operating radio licences reflect poorly on the Ministry's revenue collection hence the intension to shut down such non-compliant radio stations.
Mrs. Damane said a radio station is a medium that has kept its prominence even in the age of never ending discoveries,- ‘An accessible platform that we can all rely on for democratic discourse’.
“This year's celebration comes at a crucial time in our history. A time when for the first time we are undergoing media reforms,” she highlighted.
She noted that in hindsight this also gives them the opportunity as media workers and owners to dig deep in their hearts and work towards fulfilling their obligation as a critical ingredient of democracy by ensuring that the public receives adequate and balanced information.
The Principal Secretary stated that closely tied to this responsibility was for the media practitioners to provide Basotho whatever their wealth or geographical location, equal access to a wide range of high quality entertainment, information and education.
“I am concerned about lack of professionalism in handling issues of national interest. I am even more concerned about how some reports, I listen to on our Radios, are just opinions dressed as facts which are clearly targeted at discrediting all efforts of the Government,” she stressed.
She said this year's theme, Radio and Diversity, is a topic very close to her heart, adding that it connotes all the important moment to celebrate humanity in all its diversity such as to advocate for pluralism, to encourage newsroom representation and ensure that it consists of diverse social groups and it promotes diversity of editorial content.
Mrs. Damane underscored that in an effort to promote pluralism and diversity, the 4x4 government is already doing its part with the FM expansion project which gives nationwide reach to all radio stations which have an interest to have such coverage.
In conclusion, the Principal Secretary informed the media that her Ministry is in the process of establishing a cyber security bill which will ensure that it becomes a punishable offence to broadcast information on the internet which may cause harm.
She pointed out that malicious innuendos should not be condoned in the pretext of pluralism.
Speaking at the same occasion, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho Chapter Chairperson, Boitumelo Koloi said radio was an important medium for the transmission of information.
He said radio as a medium of communication has a bright future ahead as it has stood all the tests of time such as modern technology, as it is easily accessible even to the remotest areas in the country.