Machesetsa takes on Tšenolo FM over alleged verbal attacks
894 total views, 2 views today
By Itumeleng Koleile
Basotho National Party leader Machesetsa Mofomobe has requested the Tšenolo FM to grant him a right of reply airtime to respond to what he termed “disparaging remarks against his persona” by activists Advocate Thembo Lesupi and Manama Letsie.
Mofomobe in a letter addressed to the Tšenolo FM Station manager accused the radio station of having empowered the political activists to go on an onslaught that empowered them to attack him on air.
Machesetsa said both Lesupi and Letsie voiced very disparaging remarks against him and his political party, the BNP.
He requested the manager to furnish him with programmes recordings particularly those of the morning programme—held between 7:00 am and 8:30 am—wherein he accused Lesupi of having personally attacked him and the party.
Mofomobe also requested being furnished with a programme recording of the 20th November wherein he accuses Letsie of having made critical remarks against him.
“You will also remember that the way in which this programme is conducted is such that no listener is given a chance even to counter-mound what the said Mr Lesupi may have said, and all that happens is that Mr Lesupi satisfies himself in saying every falsehood, insult and/or lie about myself and the BNP, then the programme moves on to something else as though nothing has happened,” Machesetsa told the Tšenolo FM.
He emphasised that radio stations ought to abide by the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority Rules.
“As a radio station, you have been licenced to operate like the rest of other radio stations, meaning your licence has been issued under the broadcasting laws of our country and that these laws apply even to your radio,” Mofomobe said.
He added that as in line with the law, a person or organisation whose views have been criticised during a programme on a controversial issue of public importance, shall be offered a reasonable opportunity by the licensee—Radio Station—to reply to such criticism and that the reply shall be given a similar degree of dominance.
He also said the reply shall be broadcast during a similar timeslot as soon as reasonably possible after the original criticism.
Mofomobe said the radio station has failed dismally to perform its obligations and that he is intending on holding the station accountable to terms of the law and having his rights fully respected.
He told Tšenolo FM if it fails to comply with his demands, he will request the regulator to intervene and order the radio station to be compelled to give him his right to reply airtime.
“I also demand that I be given the exact same time slots in the exact same programme for the exact same length of time as it shall have been found that I and the BNP were thus criticised without being given a right to reply,” he added.
He also reiterated that failure to comply may lead to dire consequences that if however, they are found guilty by the Broadcasting Dispute Resolution Panel, their licence may be modified, suspended and/or annulled.
He requested that the radio station stop the onslaught on him and the party he leads or at least calls a debate on issues they need help on “wherein you must invite me, Lesupi, Letsie and any other person you may wish to invite and we debate on issues”.