Victory for The Post journalists, news to hit Lesotho market

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Maseru 24th October, 2014 – The African Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd and its newspapers Lesotho Times and Sunday Express have lost a court case in which their company got an interim interdict against a new tabloid, The Post, from publishing.

The decision was made by the Court of Appeal of Lesotho today with three judges concurring, resulting in setting aside the decision of the lower court, The High Court of Lesotho. The latter had issued a court injunction barring The Post (Pty) Ltd from engaging in publishing business in Lesotho in September, 2013.

The high court interdicted The Post (Pty) Ltd, Abel Chapatarongo, Cawell Tlali and Shakeman Mugari “from publishing any newspaper or engaging in the publishing business within the Kingdom of Lesotho…”

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Chapatarongo was the director of both Lesotho Times and Sunday Express and also the editor of Lesotho Times as well as the deputy editor of the Sunday Express. Tlali was deputy news editor of both publications while Mugari was the deputy editor of the Lesotho Times and deputy editor of the Sunday Express.

 

The restraint also barred the three journalists and The Post (Pty) Ltd from carrying on the profession of journalism and publishing business in Lesotho for 36 months and twenty four months for Chapararongo and Mugari.

The interdict further prevented them from carrying such a business within a radius of two hundred (200) kilometres from the offices of the African Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd which owns Lesotho Times and Sunday Express.

African Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd and its two tabloids claimed that the establishment of The Post (Pty) Ltd meant that the journalists who are former employees of the former were engaged in fiduciary duties during their employment and thus threatening with unlawful competition.

“This is a victory for all the journalists in Lesotho as the dismissed High Court judgement meant that no employees will leave their employers to start a journalism business in Lesotho,” argued Chapatarongo in an interview with newsline365.wordpress.com in Maseru today.

The Post is expected to be on the streets in Lesotho from the 6th November, 2014. The newspaper will bring the number of English weeklies to five (5) in a readership of not more than 350,000 people of Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. The country does not have daily newspapers and advertising is very small with the government being the biggest advertiser.

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Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Lesotho faces arrest.

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Maseru 24th October 2014 – Monyane Moleleki faces arrest for committing a M4,000.00 worth Mercedes Benz E240 compressor 2003 model as surety against M100,000.00 bail in his fraud and corruption case in 2013.

The vehicle belonging to Ntlhoi Motsamai, aslo an MP for the opposition Democratic Congress (DC) was pledged as surety valued at M117,500.00 while it was bought from the government of Lesotho for a meagre M4,000.00.

Moleleki lost the case in the Court of Appeal of Lesotho in which he had appealed against an issuance of a warrant of his arrest by the Maseru Magistrate Court for failing to pay the M100,000.00.WP_20141024_009[1]

The accused, together with four others was charged of corruption and fraud involving M15 000,000.00 for alledgedly granting a diamond mining prospecting license to Refela Holdings Company.

According to the Court of Appeal of Lesotho, on 1st July, 2013 the prosecution contended that the bail security was insufficient. The state indicated that the true value of the vehicle was M4,000.00 and not a supposed M117, 500. It was then that the magistrate authorised warrants of arrest for both Moleleki and Motsamai.

Moleleki and Motsamai contended that a warrant of arrest could not be issued against them before they could be afforded a hearing.

“The Court is quite aware that where it mero motu considers or where there is objection submitted before it as to insufficiency of surety, a warrant of arrest has to be issued against the accused so as to find sufficient surety.” So read the judgement C of A (CIV) No. 14/2014 heard and on the 13 Ocboter, 2014 and delivered 24th October, 2104.

Motsamai in this case was set free on the grounds that she was not an accused in the principal case of fraud and corruption.

“The warrant for the arrest of the second applicant [Motsamai] dated 1 July, 2013, if still capable of being executed, is set aside”, the judgement read.

Him and four co-accused were charged of fraud and corruption arising from planned diamond mining activities in the districts of Botha Bothe and Qacha’s Nek. The activities were to be carried out by Refela Holdings Compnay.

The Fourth Lesotho Film Festival Starts

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Designed to be a platform to show case Lesotho films, both local and diaspora’s production, the Lesotho Film Festival was launched in Maseru today 21st October, 2014. The festival will show twenty five (25) docudrama and documentaries featuring ‘The Man and I’.

“The Man and I is the LGBTI community documentary. This one can shake you. It features Sheriff Mothopeng, a girl who grew up to be a boy.” So says Sesotho Media Executive Director. Sesotho Media is a local organisation that strives to develop film industry in Lesotho and the Lesotho Film Festival is its project.

Mpho Letima, Executive Director of Sesotho Media Productions
Mpho Letima, Executive Director of Sesotho Media Productions

 

Also to be shown is ‘New Dawn’, a United Nations Development Programme supported documentary produced by one of the local prominent film producers, Silas Monyatsi. New Dawn is a documentary that reviews the 2012 National Assembly Elections of Lesotho which, for the first time in history, produced a coalition government in the mountain kingdom surrounded by the Southern African economic giant, Republic of South Africa (RSA).

According to Mpho, also likely to be interesting is ‘Miners Shot Down’, an RSA produced documentary about the Marikana incidence in which some Basotho men were shot dead.

Sesotho Media’s vision about the Lesotho film sector is to build the capacity of the country’s producers so that their productions are featured in the international market.

“We would like to break the glass ceiling in film industry and penetrate the global market”, said Mpho in an interview shortly after the festival launch in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho.

The Lesotho Film Festival is a month long event that comprises of shows in public places in the districts of Maseru, Thaba-Tseka, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Butha-Buthe.

The festival is one of the Sesotho Media projects and besides it, the organisation is participating in the review of Lesotho Copy Right Law and development on the Lesotho Film Law to protect local production.

Challenges faced by the film industry in Lesotho include the fact that the industry is still at its infancy stage and it does not make money. In trying to address some of these challenges, local film producers have this year established Motion Pictures Association of Lesotho (MPALE). The association’s president is Kalosi Ramakhula who is a producer of ‘Moshoeshoe ; The Mountain King’. He is deputised by Mpho Letima while the Public Relations Officer is Silas Monyatsi.

Lesotho Celebrates silver jubilee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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MASERU 18thOctober, 2014 – A multi-activity commemoration of the 25 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC@25) began in Lesotho with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Media Institute of Southern Africa Lesotho Chapter (MISA Lesotho) and Lesotho Netball Association (LNA) partnering to implement a range of country wide awareness raising activities.

MISA Lesotho activities include workshops for editors, journalists and children to ventilate on the role of the media in promoting children rights and their protection while introducing children to basic news production for print and electronic media.

At a workshop this morning editors committed to providing space for children to express themselves in the issues that affect them.

Editors workshop on CRC@25 campaign at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct, 2014
Editors workshop on CRC@25 campaign at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct, 2014

Lintle Ramatla of Thaha-Khube FM radio in Maseru lamented that as the media they have not been reporting children’s issues well. She confessed that most of the time they concentrate on negative plight of the children. She argues that positive reporting on children will go a long way in making Lesotho a better place for children.

Malume Mohale, Communications for Development specialists at UNICEF appealed to editors to take the CRC@25 as an opportunity to examine Lesotho’s progress and refocus the country’s agenda for attainment of CRC aspirations.

“Let’s give children chance to express themselves” Malume Mohale said adding that the media should be characterised by children voices on every reports about children.

Malume Mohale (in blue) of UNICEF and Lydia Muso (in black) address editors at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct, 2014
Malume Mohale (in blue) of UNICEF and Lydia Muso (in black) address editors at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct, 2014

Lydia Musa, Founder of the Lesotho Child Counselling Unit, requested editors to help children participate in the media in a responsible manner so that their messages should not be undermined by irresponsible language and attitudes.

Nkoale Ts’oana of Moeletsi oa Basotho newspaper argued that there were so many positive things done by children, but they go unreported because the media was focussing on politics and negative issues.

“We have left children out in the affairs of this country. The media houses have to strategize and have robust programes for the benefit of children”, said Ts’oana.

The workshop proposed a programme of action which seeks to intensify children participation through the media. It was emphasised that every activity on the CRC@25 should be reported by children and editors would put concerted efforts to assist and mentor children to report stories on their media.

The editors meeting was followed by newswriting training for 20 children drawn from various schools in Maseru and it was also attended by 10 journalists.

Editors and Children at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct. 2014
Editors and Children at MISA Lesotho 18th Oct. 2014

In the last weekend MISA Lesotho deployed children to cover the launch of the LNA CRC@25campaign and they were reporting live on Radio Spes Nostra’s children programme called Le Bona Ba Na Le Lentsoe– They too have a voice. The children were also collection information for a specialised publication on the CRC@25.

Child reporter interviewing UNICEF official live on air during the launch of LNA CRC@25 campaign last weekend in Maseru.
Child reporter interviewing UNICEF official live on air during the launch of LNA CRC@25 campaign last weekend in Maseru.

MISA Lesotho Media and Children Project Officer, ‘Matselane Mosoaboli said one of the CRC@25 strength is to have children reporting a range of activities country wide. She disclosed that in the next two weeks MISA Lesotho will hold two training workshops for children reporters in partnership with World Vision International Lesotho and LCCU to make the CRC@25 a true business for children in Lesotho.

Child reporter taking pictures during MISA Lesotho training on newswriting skills for children 18 Oct, 2014
Child reporter taking pictures during MISA Lesotho training on newswriting skills for children 18 Oct, 2014

While Lesotho is faced by challenges like high child mortality rate, stunting and malnutrition, it has enacted The Child Welfare Protection Act of 2011 which said to be one of the best pieces of legislation in Africa.

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Maseru 18th Octber, 2014