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Lesotho radio station’s licence remains suspended following family impasse

20 Jan, 2022

What happened

The suspension of Lesotho’s 357FM, which was supposed to lapse on January 10, is yet to be lifted, with that country’s communications regulatory authority saying they were waiting for the official appointment of the radio station’s representative to the regulatory body.

On January 10, 2022, the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA), said 357FM, whose operations were suspended in November 2021, “will remain suspended until there has been a formal and official appointment of a new management representative” to the communications authority.

MISA Lesotho chairperson, Lekhetho Ntsukunyane, described the issue as “complicated”. During the radio station’s suspension, he explained, 357FM’s owner died, triggering infighting within his family over control of the station.

With the ongoing impasse, LCA responded by extending the suspension of the radio station’s licence.

357FM’s licence was withdrawn after the station allegedly failed to comply with a directive of the LCA Broadcasting Disputes and Resolution Panel.

The station had on, October 21, 2021, been ordered to apologise to the leader of the opposition Basotho Action Party (BAP), Nqosa Mahao, who accused the broadcaster of waging a campaign of character assassination.

MISA's position

MISA calls on all the parties involved in the impasse to find common ground as soon as possible so that the station can be back on air.

Radio plays a critical part in providing access to information, particularly so in Lesotho, which is due to hold elections later this year.

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. 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.

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Latest media violations

Those affected:
Radio station
Number affected:
Lesotho Communications Authority
Types of actors:
Maseru, Lesotho