AS I SEE IT
THE quality of broadcast journalism in this country leaves a lot to be desired.
We have pseudo-journalists at various media houses particularly in the broadcasting sector.
We have seen these pseudo-journalists trashing media ethics during their radio broadcasts.
Chief among these culprits is one Arthur Majara.
Majara is a journalist-cum-analyst at one of our local radio stations People’s Choice (PC) FM.
Majara is a regular panelist on PC FM’s Mololi Oa Taba discussion programme.
I can safely state that Majara perversely violates all principles of good journalism namely truthfulness, accuracy, impartiality and fairness in the manner he handles the programme.
I want to focus on the impartiality and inaccuracies peddled by our radio journalists with specific reference to Majara.
I have observed that Majara systematically fails to tackle and confront interviewees while they are still in the studio or on the programme only for him to attack them when they leave the building.
I personally think this is quite unethical.
Why does Majara have to wait until the interviewee has left the studio to comment on what they would have said?
This seriously impinges on the impartial presentation of opinions and the interviewee’s right of reply.
It also affects the accuracy of the facts under discussion.
Majara tends to argue at length about the political landscape of this country.
But rarely does he illustrate his points with concrete examples that are applicable in Lesotho or the African continent.
He wants to highlight his case studies with foreign examples particularly from the United States.
There is nothing wrong with looking up to the Americans for political inspiration but the problem comes when every problem in Lesotho is compared to the US.
I will illustrate my argument with a specific example.
On Saturday, 19 September 2009, Majara said those who voted for the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party in 2007 were “migratory birds” from the Basotho National Party (BNP).
Majara said the votes won by the ABC were from BNP loyalists who were disenchanted by the party’s tyrannical leadership.
During the same debate Majara flip-flopped when he stated that those votes had come from the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) dissidents who had been expelled from the party.
It looks like the man was at logger-heads with himself.
Majara claimed that during the 2002 general elections the LCD, when Thomas Thabane was still with the party, garnered 2 789 votes while the BNP represented by one Thabisi scored 1 103 votes.
Five years later, Thabane representing the newly formed All Basotho Convention (ABC) party enjoyed a whopping 3 724 votes while the BNP only managed a paltry 191 votes.
These figures, Majara claimed, were from the Ha-Abia constituency.
Majara further buttressed his argument by dwelling much on the proportional representation statistics.
Gauging by the confusion surrounding the debate one is compelled to draw the conclusion that Majara’s statement was a false argument.
If a broadcaster disseminates such stonewalled statistics it creates a suspicion that the argument was not just a controversial argument but one espoused by a belligerent individual out to mislead the audience.
Statistical data when used to advance an argument must be accurate.
The radio presenter seems hopelessly out of touch with modern political realities in Lesotho.
Former British premier Winston Churchill once said: “A fanatic is a man who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
Majara seems like one who cannot alter his mindset about the past regarding the role of Thabane and other leaders of the political opposition.
I would encourage Majara to change the subject and tackle more urgent issues that affect Basotho if he is to endear himself as a talk-show host.