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Statement against Commissioner of Police’s attempt to gag media

27 May, 2024
The media must operate without fear, retribution or censorship from government authorities. It is not the place of the police to dictate what constitutes acceptable content for media consumption.

MISA-Lesotho is deeply concerned and unequivocally condemns the recent statement made by then Acting Commissioner of Police, Dr Mahlape Morai, regarding the media’s coverage of certain Famo music groups.

Dr Morai declared these groups as subversive and illegal, subsequently criminalising media interviews and the playing of their music. This, in our view, is a flagrant violation of media freedom and independence.

The Commissioner’s directive that media outlets should cease interviewing members of these groups and refrain from broadcasting their music is an egregious overreach of authority.

This attempt to muzzle the press under the guise of maintaining public order, is not only unconstitutional but also sets a dangerous precedent for censorship and the suppression of free speech.

It is imperative to remind the Commissioner that the role of the media is to inform the public, foster diverse viewpoints and uphold the principles of free expression as enshrined in both our national constitution and international human rights conventions.

The media must operate without fear, retribution or censorship from government authorities. It is not the place of the police to dictate what constitutes acceptable content for media consumption.

We call upon the Commissioner of Police to retract these undemocratic statements immediately and to respect the essential role of the media within our society.

We also urge all media houses to resist this blatant intimidation and to continue their crucial work of providing unbiased and comprehensive news coverage.

MISA Lesotho stands firm in its commitment to protect the independence of the media.

We will continue to advocate for the protection of press freedoms and will not hesitate to challenge any actions that threaten the core values of a free and independent press.

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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