Online journalism in general means the reporting of news on the internet either on blog sites, websites and other relevant means in which people can easily get information. In past years, Basotho have always been relying on radio for news especially in the rural areas while in urban areas, radio, television, newspapers, magazines and other have been other ways for the provision of news from the journalists to the people.
But in recent years, since smart phones have become popular to the youth, online journalism has been one big influence in new ways of disseminating news around the world. In Lesotho, such a change has shown big influence amongst the young generation.
There are a number of newspapers in the country, also a number of radio stations and one television station which are owned by the government that are accessible online. Some of the newspapers have websites for online readers and newspapers such as Lesotho Times, on its website, it gives the same stories it gives on its printed copies.
There is also MISA Lesotho, which is responsible for the regulation of the media in general in the country. It also has a website and an account on social networks such as twitter and Facebook.
Even though some people have access to the internet, majority of the people, especially in the rural areas do not have internet access. Only 5% of the whole country has internet access. This makes online journalism one of the smallest influences in the country even though there are people who rely heavily on newspaper websites, on Facebook, on twitter etc. for news. On Facebook, one could find news groups such as Lesotho news etc.
There are some negative implications about online journalism even though they have not been strongly pointed and been made of the public concern. Sayings such as some people on social networks, especially Facebook are not journalists and the way they report news is not authentic and honest, implying that no ethical procedures are taken into consideration. This goes two ways, as some people still believe every word that these online journalists report.
Illiteracy is one of the challenges faced by online journalists; this is because most journalists are citizen journalists who post their articles without considering the ethics. Regarding the computer literacy in Lesotho, high level of computer illiteracy is a major obstacle to the growth of online journalism. This makes it problematic for those who even have internet access, incapable to use it.
Cyber phobia is one of the challenges faced by online journalists because their articles lose a wider coverage due to audience resistance of the internet. By audience resistance we mean some people do not believe in the internet and still take internet as something that is far from their league and they are still too traditional.
Another challenge faced by online journalists, that is to say people are afraid of exposing their thoughts and stories online fearing that people who might come across their writings might give negative critics about them.
Some people do report news on social networks since any one can open news group. But in most cases, they represent them poorly and become biased as some of the articles are written by non-professional journalists. This makes most of the stories on social networks lack transparency.
However, online journalism in Lesotho has very promising prospects, judgments show that online journalism will create an edifying society and escalade the number of internet users in the country as more people search for ways out in fulfilling their quest to know more about the happenings around them, thus luring towards the internet.