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Privately-owned radio station suspended for "failure to cooperate with the authority"

(MISA/IFEX) - On 21 July 2008 the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) imposed a twelve-month suspension on Harvest FM for what it called "failure to cooperate with the authority."

LCA chairperson Metsing Mangoaela said the station would be suspended for twelve months, nine of which would be set aside if the station does not commit a similar offence during that time. Effectively the station is suspended for 3 months. The station will broadcast again on 21 October 2008.

The popular radio station was asked by the regulatory body three months ago to show cause as to why it could not be closed. This was after the Commissioner of Police and the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Communications filed complaints with LCA, claiming Harvest FM had broadcast opinions that were intended to damage their dignity as individuals.

Harvest FM has become the first victim of the LCA's intentions to put pressure on the broadcast media using the amended Lesotho Telecommunications Act (LTA), which gives power to the Minister to shut down a radio station without prior hearing if she or he deems it has contravened the broadcasting law.

Harvest FM is accused of being openly critical of the Lesotho government. The station had received several threats prior to this suspension.

For further information on previous harassment of Harvest FM radio station, see:

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