CLOSE

Lesotho journalists win right to start newspaper

Lesotho journalists win right to start newspaper

The Lesotho Court of Appeal has ruled that three journalists who had been banned from working following a dispute with their former editor should be allowed to set up their own newspaper.

Abel Chapatarongo, Shakeman Mugari and Caswell Tlali were reporters at the Lesotho Times until their resignation in 2013. They decided to set up their own newspaper, The Post, as they felt that the Lesotho Times limited their editorial independence.

However, the owner of the Times, Basildon Peta, alleged that the journalists knew business secrets and obtained a court order prohibiting them from setting up their own outlet or practicing journalism for 12 months. The order threatened the livelihoods of the journalists, made worse by delays in the judicial process which left them unable to appeal for over a year.

With financial support from the Media Legal Defence Initiative and others, the three journalists eventually appealed. In a standard-setting judgment, the Court of Appeal held that the journalists should never have been prohibited from practicing journalism and that it was “simply not acceptable” that the High Court had delayed delivering judgment on the matter, especially since the livelihood of the journalists had been at stake.

Abel Chapatarongo stressed the importance of the ruling: “This is not just a victory for The Post. It is a victory for all who dream of breaking the chains of tyranny and start their own business enterprises.”

Recent News

Azerbaijan held liable for blocking Radio Free Europe’s websites by ECtHR

The case relates to the blocking of RFE’s websites in 2017, and was one of four separate cases involving website blocking that were considered by the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’). The websites were blocked with immediate effect, pending an application for a court order by the relevant government agency. According to the government, […]

Read

Media Defence Files Intervention at European Court to Protect Anonymity Online

Media Defence has filed a third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Koumiotis v Greece to protect anonymity online. The case concerns criminal proceedings against the applicant, the owner and manager of an online blog. The applicant, following a series of posts criticising a businessman, was convicted of slanderous defamation. The […]

Read

Call for Consultants: Independent evaluation of ‘International Network of Internet Freedom Lawyers (INIFL)’ multi-regional project

1. About Media Defence Media Defence’s Vision A world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public interest, allowing citizens to be better informed, able to hold those in power to account. Media Defence’s Mission  To ensure legal protection of journalists and media […]

Read