An investigation into the presentation of diverse sources in television news broadcasts : an analysis of Lesotho Television (LTV) news bulletins.
The aim of the study is to investigate the presentation of diverse sources of news in Lesotho Television (LTV) news bulletins. The sources of news in this case study are divided into two categories namely the 'knowns' (prominent people in society who occupy well-known positions) and the 'unknowns' (average citizens). The study measured the frequency with which the 'unknowns' appear as sources of news and/or as protagonists of news stories as well as subjects. The diversity of opinion was measured in terms of age and gender. The study is informed by public service broadcasting (PSB), news and source theories. The public service broadcasting theory highlights the hypothesis that LTV as a nation-builder has failed to fulfill its obligation of representing all the members of the society equitably. News theories highlight the notion that news selection favours the dominant or known sources and that newsworthiness is determined according to the broadcasting organisational demands. This study thus demonstrates that news stories at LTV are selected in terms of the economic, social and political requirements of the station. The findings of this research confirmed the assumption that news sources are the prominent members of the society while the ordinary or average people are mostly featured in news bulletins as subjects. The time and space allocated to them is not equal. More time is allocated to sound bites on 'knowns'. Although the station assumes the responsibility of a public service broadcaster by following its tenets of informing, educating and entertaining as well as being a nation-builder, this study has shown that it is a state broadcaster. The station serves the elite most of whom are middle-aged men from the government organisations, reporting on government policies. The study also confirmed that LTV editors and reporters are not as editorially independent as claimed in some writings. There is a tradition of self-censorship among journalists at LTV, as they are treated as public servants and are reminded that they serve the government and cannot 'bite the hand that feeds them'. As a result some information is withheld from the public and journalists rarely expose the malpractices of the government. This has resulted in limited dissenting or alternative views from the general public.