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IEC capacitates Journalists with tools of trade

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU –  As the country is at cross-roads ahead of elections of the government that it will entrust to run the affairs of the country for the five-year period, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is facilitating a capacity-building session, on elections covering, for journalists.

The four-day capacity-building of media practitioners on Elections Reporting and Safety and Security of Journalists during elections commenced today.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho National Director Lekhetho Makhanya Ntsukunyane impressed on the importance of imparting wholesome information to empower the public in order to make informed decisions on whom to elect.

Ntsukunyane said effective reporting will do away with the low voter turnout.

He said voter civic education is critical and journalists should be able to transmit the message, adding that they should also be au fait with the laws regulating elections.

IEC Commissioner Tšoeu Petlane said during the elections period, journalists not only report but also monitor behaviour of all stakeholders.

He said the reporters need to appreciate the elections and the electoral process within the democratic dispensation.

“Elections are a crucial element of expressing our democratic will,” he said.

The Commissioner further challenged the media practitioners to anchor their commitment towards engaging the public in the election process.

Petlane further reiterated the role of media, which is to support and strengthen democracy.

He appealed to journalists to take their responsibility seriously and handle it with care.

“Let’s be careful about the role we play,” he said, warning them against peddling fake news and misguided information.

Speaking at the event, MISA Lesotho Chairperson Nkoale Oetsi Tšoana said the training could not come at an opportune time to capacitate reporters with tools of trade.

He said elections are “sensitive” and therefore require skilled personnel to report them.

The Chairperson further thanked the Commission for availing this opportunity to the reporters.

One of the participants, Motšelisi Moneri from KEL Radio said her expectation is to learn how to handle and disseminate news on elections coverage.

She said through this training, she will perfectly disseminate information to the public so that they can be empowered and exercise their judgment competently, adding that the elections period is critical.

The four-day training will run until Friday.