s Salaam






Talk of a media policy in Lesotho
reached fever-pitch ahead of the 2012
general elections and for a short time
after the poll. Ever since, the country
seems to have moved farther away from
adopting the proposed media policy.
The Receipt and Access to Information Bill has been gathering dust in parliament shelves since 2000; the Lesotho
Communications Act (2012) is being implemented partially and there are still 14
pieces of legislation that threaten media
freedom, pluralism and diversity.
And, despite having held its first ever
democratic elections in 1993 and witnessing the growth of private print and
broadcast media, the mountain kingdom
of Lesotho still has no express guarantees for media freedom and freedom of
As it has been noted in previous editions of this report, media in Lesotho
operate in a very hostile legal environment. Therefore, this current country
report looks into importance of adoption of the draft media policy, passage of
Receipt and Access to Information Bill of
2000 and speedy implementation of the
Lesotho Communications Act (2012). It
also argues that the lack of political will
in Lesotho is what stands in the way of
media reform in Lesotho.

1997 and the second in 2000) that fairly
represents both the government and citizens aspirations with regard to the development of media in Lesotho. The draft
media policy has the following three
main important areas that are agreed to
by concerned parties:

Review of current laws that are not
favorable to media development
Development of code of conduct
and obligations for the media practitioners
Establishment of co-regulatory and
Self regulatory mechanisms for electronic and print media respectively.


The current draft media policy, developed in October 2010, is a hybrid of
two draft policies (the first drafted in

Despite Lesotho being a signatory
to ICCPR and ACHPR, the following 13
pieces of legislation remain functional
and are not favorable to media freedom
and freedom of expression.
1. Obscene Publication proclamation No.
9 of 1912
2. Sedition Proclamation No 44 of 1938
3. Printing and Publications Act, 1967
4. Official Secrets Act, 1967
5. High Court Act, 1978
6. Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act,
7. Internal Security Act (General) Act,
8. Emergency Powers Order 1988
9. National Assembly Elections Order
10. Constitution of Lesotho 1993 (Article
14 (2))
11. The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, 1994


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