Despite the fact that numerous other radio stations have also failed to pay their
rental fees for transmission, only MoAfrika was penalised. Secondly, LNBS officials had issued demand for the money
owed on the afternoon of 11 August
insisting that the payment be settled the
same day. MoAfrika’s attempt to pay the
fees owed was thwarted by the fact that
in terms of its arrangements with the
bank, it could only pay in batches, and
not the whole amount in one go.
In trying to resolve the issue, MISA Lesotho teamed up with other CSOs to
write a joint letter to the Minister at the
time - Chief Joang Molapo, requesting that MoAfrika be reconnected with
immediate effect and both parties start
talks leading to a mutual arrangement
regarding payment to avoid any damage
to Lesotho’s democratic rule. Only one
meeting took place as a result, in the
presence of MISA Lesotho and Christian
Council of Lesotho.
The political programmes radio presenter, Rets’epile Maloi, of Ts’enolo FM, a
private radio station, was summoned for
questioning by a panel of four Lesotho
Mounted Police Service officers immediately after his morning programme
on 9 March 2017. The interrogation,
which took more than two hours, was
convened, according to the explanation
given to him by the police, to discuss
concerns which arose from conduct on
his programme, Fika Le Mohala, which
aired on weekdays from 6am to 10am.
Some of the concerns raised included
a segment on the programme where
guests with different political standpoints are called in at the same time to
debate burning issues. This according to
the police had the potential to spark violence among the general public.


So This is Democracy? 2017

Police also pointed out that callers to
Fika Le Mohala abuse the Speech Withdrawal1 Principle by phoning in and being abusive. While they were later being
told to withdraw the remarks, the message had already been aired. The police
warned Maloi that it would be the last
time he was called in to talk about the
content and conduct of his programme.
On 8 August, 2017 People’s Choice FM
presenter Palo Mohlotsane and a Moeletsi Oa Basotho newspaper reporter
were threatened by supporters of the
LCD who tried to stop them from covering the appearance of the party’s leader,
Mothejoa Metsing, before the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO). In an attempt to address
the issue, MISA Lesotho wrote LCD a
letter expressing their concern about
the incident, while also encouraging the
party to embark on talks with the two
media houses to resolve the issue before
it escalated and placed the lives of the
two journalists in danger. However, LCD
dismissed the letter, saying that MISA
Lesotho had been biased by taking the
side of the journalists.
On a positive note, the government of
Lesotho announced in December 2017
that it had rescinded its moratorium on
issuance of broadcast licenses that was
put in place two years earlier. The news
was received with jubilation as a call for
applications for radio stations licenses
was issued.
This move will allow the MISA Lesotho
project, “Access to Information Through
Establishment of Community Radio Stations” get three community radio stations on air by mid 2018. The morato1 In Lesotho, in case a person utters words found
to be unsuitable for radio, the person is are asked
to withdraw such words. If in agreement the person
will then state:”I withdraw my words.”

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