MASERU — A new private radio station, Tšenolo FM, was officially launched in Khubetsoana on Tuesday.
The station becomes the 11th radio station in Lesotho.
Speaking at the official launch, Minister of Communications Science and Technology, Tšeliso Mokhosi, said “it is the responsibility of the media to set the agenda for the nation by disseminating messages of development”.
The minister said this will help improve people’s lives, alleviate poverty, create employment and change the lives of Basotho.
He said the media should work hard to empower people to become independent instead of looking to the government for food aid.
Tšenolo FM founder and owner, Mohau Kobile, said the radio station will focus more on investigating issues of concern to the public.
Kobile said lack of access to information and lack of a media policy remained a challenge to local journalists and urged the minister to address these concerns.
A local media analyst, Motlatsi Majara, appealed to government ministers to be available when needed to respond to issues raised in the media.
“Our media should work hard on presenting non-violent politics and educational messages instead of confrontational news which take the country nowhere,” he said.
The station manager, Tumelo Mokete, said Tšenolo FM will broadcast news every hour adding that 85 percent of their programmes will be talk shows.
“Our target audience is people aged 18 and above. We will provide unbiased information as we will be catering for people of different religions and norms,” Mokete said.
Mokete said they will be broadcasting in Sesotho.
The station employs 10 people.
Tšeliso Tale is the programmes manager.
Radio has a long history in Lesotho.
The first radio station went on air in 1960 with the first private radio station, People’s Choice (PC) FM, going on air in 1998.
The previous government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had a frosty relationship with private radio stations. It often accused the radio stations of broadcasting hate speech and inciting people to embark on street protests.
In 2008, the government shut down Harvest FM radio station for three months for allegedly violating the country’s broadcasting laws by airing defamatory and inaccurate programmes.
Harvest FM however rejected the government’s claims saying it was being punished for daring to challenge the then status quo.