Lesotho radio stations face down political pressure to stay on air
A Southern African media rights organization says that two radio stations in Lesotho were shut down late last week – a reminder on World Radio Day that here, as in many African nations, radio reporters and other journalists are suppressed in their mission to provide information and programming.
The government of Lesotho cut the broadcasting signals of Ts’enolo FM (104.6MHZ) and People’s Choice FM (95.6 MHZ) last Thursday, according to the Media Institute of South Africa (MISA). MISA covers 11 countries in the continent’s south, working on free expression, journalist safety and related concerns.
The radio stations were accused of airing defamatory content about the country’s Prime Minister Bethuel Mosisili and Deputy Prime Minister Mothejoa Metsing, officials told MISA. The station managers of the two radio outlets said they broadcast a press conference and interviews with two brothers who left the Democratic Congress party headed by Mosisili, and joined a new opposition party called the Alliance for Democrats.
The shutdown came shortly after Serialong Qoo, the Lesotho communications minister, condemned the brothers’ statements as a deliberate attempt to discredit the Prime Minister and his deputy, MISA said.
MISA Lesotho said it had intervened on behalf of the Lesotho stations, and expected the radio outlets to be back on the air on or before the weekend. People’s Choice was livestreaming its content on Monday.
For more information about MISA’s work in Lesotho and surrounding countries, please see the organization website.
Image: MISA Lesotho