The government of Lesotho has been under heavy criticism for shutting down a private station that is seen to be anti-government.
However, the government has defended its decision citing the current security volatility as the sole purpose of its drastic action on Moafrika FM Radio.
Pictures of the Chief Editor of Moafrika FM, Candy Ramainoane being wrestled to the ground began circulating on social media recently.
Ramainoane had attended a case on which his station had been temporarily shut down by government for broadcasting “inciting statements”.
“Before the closing of Parliament, Thabane had made an announcement in Parliament, two times, on the 24th and 26th, that he was giving latitude to the police that they should beat suspects whenever they were out of sight. Once they come back to the public, they should stop beating those people and smile with them as if nothing has happened,” says Ramainoane.
The government says it has no interest in censoring media, but will take action if the Kingdom’s security is at stake.
“We pointed out to him what exactly (are) the issues and actions he undertook and what we considered as a threat to the security of the country. Then, we asked him to kindly avoid those issues, especially when what you are talking about is not the truth about what happened. It is one thing for us to defend a truthful interpretation of events, but when somebody presents something completely false, but is so sensational, that is going to cause distress in the general population with the situation in the country. We have to take an action and put things right,” says Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Joang Molapo.
Amnesty International and other organizations issued strong statements that allegations on Moafrika were “spurious and nothing more than a witch-hunt” while others say Moafrika FM needs to be more responsible in its reporting.
The station was suspended for 72 hours, but is yet to appear before court to account for its remarks that government deems threatening to stability of the country.
– By Rapelang Radebe