MASERU — Africa Media Holdings (AMH), publishers of the Lesotho Times, have announced the launch of a new weekly paper to be published every Sunday.
The Sunday Express, the country’s first Sunday newspaper, is set to hit the newsstands on August 16 2009.
It comes 16 months after the launch of the Lesotho Times.
Speaking at a ceremony held at a local hotel to mark the first anniversary of the Lesotho Times last Friday, AMH chief executive officer Basildon Peta said the Sunday Express would offer readers yet another valuable source of news and information as well as value for their money.
“We will launch the Sunday Express to give readers something to liven their weekends,” Peta said.
Peta paid tribute to advertisers and readers who have supported the Lesotho Times since its launch last year, saying the publication had experienced phenomenal growth within a short space of time.
He recalled that when the Lesotho Times was launched, his company had also promised to launch a daily newspaper in due course.
Peta said lessons drawn in publishing the Lesotho Times thus far had proved that a daily newspaper is neither feasible nor viable in Lesotho at this stage.
“We want a well-thought-out publication that will give Basotho something to value every weekend,” he said.
“We have thus decided to settle on a Sunday newspaper instead of a daily.”
An experienced team to take charge of the Sunday Express is being assembled.
Darlington Majonga, who is currently the deputy editor of the Lesotho Times, will edit the Sunday Express.
Peta hailed Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing for his efforts in fostering press freedom in Lesotho.
“Lesotho stands out among countries where there is real plurality in the media and where press freedom is tolerated,” Peta said.
“We have not experienced arrests and harassment of journalists on the industrial scale that we have seen in some countries.”
He said in one southern African country, a mere gathering such as the one held by the Lesotho Times to commemorate its first anniversary, would have been illegal.
“That situation (in Lesotho) has not brought itself about,” Peta said.
“It is because of a conscious realisation by you (the government and Metsing) that a free, independent pluralist media is vital for the development of any society.”
In his address, Metsing said the media must be careful about how they use the immense power that they wield.
“Journalists hold immense power in their hands and they must use it responsibly,” Metsing said.
The minister said he was happy with the level of professionalism at the Lesotho Times, adding that this was due to the calibre of editors at the newspaper.
“Some of these reporters, they were not reporting professionally before they joined the Lesotho Times but now I see that they are professional and I am proud of them,” Metsing said.
Law Society of Lesotho president Zwelakhe Mda also addressed the gathering.
He said the media played a critical role in promoting democracy and the rule of law.