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Government’s stop on licenses halts community radio project

Access To Information
24 Nov, 2017
By refusing to issue community radio licenses it granted two years ago, Lesotho's government is denying communities vital access to local information.

In 2015, MISA Lesotho, supported by Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA), started assisting three communities to establish their own radio stations in a view to catalysing vibrancy in information exchange and debate for community development.

The project covering Mokhotlong, Semonkong and Quthing communities is, however, being frustrated by a moratorium on the issuance of broadcast licenses granted two years ago.

In each of the communities, the community members’ commitment is evident in that in Mokhotlong and Semonkong the project was allocated a plot where MISA Lesotho has constructed and completed studios. In the district of Quthing, the office of the District Administrator gave a house that was converted to a complete studio.

Equipment for the three radio stations was bought a year and half ago and it is yet to be installed because no broadcasting license has been granted.

The project was supposed to have ended in March, 2017. Due to the moratorium, the donor has agreed to a no-cost extension until March 2018 banking on the promise of the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Joang Molapo to suspend the moratorium by first quarter of the 2018.

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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