MASERU – The Lesotho Chapter of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Lesotho) is concerned about organisations, particularly government ministries that continue to call and congregate journalists for press briefings therefore exposing them to COVID-19.
In a press statement released today, MISA noted that it has learnt with great sense of dismay the extent to which precautionary measures in relation to COVID-19 pandemic are being undermined, especially concerning the protection of journalists.
“Cognizant of dangers of Coronavirus which has been declared a global pandemic, the government declared national emergency and subsequently announced a three-week country lockdown spanning March 29 to April 21, 2020.
In keeping up with the aforesaid, a number of safe practices were announced, including social distancing hence public gatherings are to be limited as much as possible. Be that as it may, MISA Lesotho has become aware that a number of organisations, particularly government ministries, continue to call and congregate journalists for press briefings,” noted MISA.
It further stressed that what is even more concerning is that the corona National Emergency Command Centre (NECC), a haven of hope in the collation of information concerning the pandemic, is contributing by congregating persons in a crowded set up. MISA said the gatherings include frequent press conferences and media briefings on updates about scourge of the virus.
“We wish to appeal to the NECC to desist from holding physical meetings and resort to other means of information dissemination through utilizing cyberspace and other non-contact fora. We are aware of the country status where no confirmed cases have been recorded, as well as the eight suspected cases whose results are yet to be received from South Africa. Members of the media have certainly contributed in keeping Lesotho corona-free, mainly by way of information dissemination and public awareness,” MISA said.
MISA Lesotho commended organisations, government ministries and departments that have already resorted to using the cyberspace in engaging the journalists for information dissemination and avoiding corona related risks.
It further encourages the public to continue to heed the government’s call to observe set healthy etiquette that includes social distancing, staying at home and maintaining high levels of personal hygiene.