MISA-Lesotho takes this time to respond to an article titled “MISA steals mediocrity gong” that appeared in the Lesotho Times on 28 May 2009.
MISA-Lesotho’s responds that its work is, by far, not only about producing the annual report but that MISA-Lesotho has worked hard to improve the media and freedom of expression environment in Lesotho since late 1990s that now allows even scrutator to work freely.
Passing judgment on MISA on the basis of a one thousand words opinionated and analytical review is not only to miss the point of who and what MISA does, but an indication of unwarranted malice and also a waste of media space that would rather be used to advance the common good of the Basotho.
We note that contrary to what Scrutator says, no where does MISA says it wants to be a “media complaints commission” and asking whether MISA is a statutory body is a level of ignorance that we cannot bother to respond to.
Again no where did we say journalists should defame anybody but in fact we lament the high numbers of defamation cases, the damages awarded, their effects on media sustainability as well as the need for self regulation.
Apart from failing to understand what MISA does, Scrutator deliberately lies to advance his own agenda, which we are yet to learn what it is.
MISA can produce evidence of how it has assisted even the publishers of the Lesotho Times in their hour of need at some point in their lives.
This information is there for all to see in previous MISA annual reports and other documents.
It is this record that we would want to be judged on, as to whether it was/is mediocre, we would be concerned.
The work of MISA includes support to journalists and media organisations in trouble as well as advocacy work on media law reforms.
This work is acknowledged by our government, media, citizens, civil society organisations, private sector and other renowned international bodies.
It is on the basis of this work that we would rather be judged and not simpleton potshots as in scrutator.
No amount of muckraking will take this record away. In this regard to instigate any media organisation not to be part of MISA-Lesotho will not serve anyone including the writer and we believe is bound to fail.
MISA-Lesotho is made up of members hence can call its members to order and is a legitimately registered Lesotho organisation.
Regulation does not mean statutory powers only but self regulation through membership and a shared code of ethics and beliefs can still work and that is what MISA encourages.
MISA-Lesotho encourages dialogue and that those members of the media who are aggrieved with the work of MISA-Lesotho for one reason or the other should feel free to approach the organisation.
In the same vein MISA-Lesotho encourages journalists who have serious issues about MISA to write about them.
Entertainment columns such as Scrutator are also part of journalism and are encouraged to write about MISA-Lesotho, hopefully on issues that advance the cause of media in Lesotho.
MISA-Lesotho will not be reduced to childish mudslinging as the record of our work, and not our English, speaks for itself.
It is this work that we cherish and not whether we wrote “fore” instead of “for” or “deversity” instead of “diversity”. These are minor errors that even Obama’s speech would have.
MISA and media excellence cannot be defined by this. The Lesotho annual report captures the views and interpretations of the writer that are shared by MISA-Lesotho.
As far as we are concerned, the intended message was communicated to the people of Lesotho, the regional and international community in our annual report.