Lesotho Times editor faces defamation charges

Lesotho Times editor faces defamation charges

The owner of the Lesotho Times Newspaper, Basildon Peta has been charged with defamation and crimen injura over a satirical column published in the newspaper on June 23, 2016. The column, called Scrutator narrated a story about the commander of the Lesotho Defense Force Lt. Gen Tlali Kamoli.

The column headlined ‘Flicker of hope for my beloved Kingdom….’ was written in the wake of an announcement by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili that the government had decided to “engage General Kamoli on a mutually agreeable solution” in light of international calls that he be relieved of his post.

The weekly column satirised the perceived influence of the LDF commander by telling a joke about a hypothetical “invasion” of a cabinet meeting.

Scrutator is a weekly satirical column in the Lesotho Times meant to provide jocular commentary on serious issues and caricature noteworthy personalities including senior politicians.

Peta was summoned by police detectives from his base in South Africa for interrogation.

After hours of interrogation, Peta was then taken to the Magistrate’s Court and charged with defamation and crimen injuria under Section 104 of the Penal Code Act No 6 of 2010 read with Sections 101, 102 (1) and Subsection (2) thereof. He is out on M800 bail and M30,000 surety. His next scheduled court appearance is July


MISA is a regional non-governmental organisation with members in 11 of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Officially launched in September 1992, MISA focuses primarily on the need to promote free, independent and pluralistic media, as envisaged in the 1991 Windhoek Declaration.    

MISA Lesotho

Tel:  +266 223 20941
Email: MISALesotho@gmail.com

MISA Regional Secretariat
Tel: +264 61 232975
Fax: +264 61 248016
Email: info@misa.org

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.