Slap on the wrist for LTV airing “obscene, indecent and profane” content

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By Nicole Tau

Broadcasting Disputes Resolutions Panel (BDRP) has given the Lesotho Television (LTV) a slap on the wrist in a rare moment where a regulator reprimanded a state-owned broadcaster in Lesotho.

The BDRP, an outfit under the Lesotho Communications Authority founded to regulate broadcasters found Lesotho National Broadcasting Services company LTV to have been negligent and without having obeyed due diligence by breaking Rule 6(d) and (e) of the Broadcasting Rules of 2004.

The Respondent, LTV is accused of contravening Rule 6 which provides that a licensee shall not broadcast content which, measured by contemporary community standards to glorify violence and is likely to incite crime.

In a matter between Complainants Beautiful Dreams Society and the Respondent LNBS, the decision was issued a two month after legal battle by Advocates Lineo Tsikoane and Joanna Moliehe Jonas against the LNBS team.

According to BDSP Chairperson Mampoi Taoana, LNBS conceded that they aired a story, which carried “profane and abusive language”.

She said LNDB Television outfit attempted various means to rectify the indiscretion which she added shows remorse and profusely shows acceptance of responsibility for their actions.

Consequently, the Director-General of LNBS, Dada Moqasa stated that the editor of the said news item has been placed on special leave pending a disciplinary hearing.

BDRP said the LNBS should pay a penalty and also offer Moeketsi Tšolo an apology and a retraction.

Moreover, LNBS is ordered to commit to training presenters on gender-sensitive matters and Broadcasting ethics, as well as assist in the recovery of the victim at Ha-Nyane with fully paid for psychological services including transport to and from the sessions.

That being said, Taoana said LNBS is ordered to report to LCA within 30 days of receipt on the implementation of the given orders.

The decision by the BDRP follows a report on July 3 received by BDRP complaining about LTV after it aired an abrasive and demeaning statement by Tšolo while at a public village gathering in Thaba-Tseka.

The public gathering proceedings were aired by LTV following a heartbreaking incident where a 14-year-old girl was raped by her father.

In his statement, Tšolo accused women of being responsible for the perpetual child sexual abuse by going to work and leaving their “ripe” children at home with their fathers.

“The man’s statement glorified sexual violence, that incites rape and promotes rape culture, that was tantamount to gratuitous violence and that we felt removed culpability from the offender and placed on women and girls,” Tsikoane told KDNews.

“The Complainant also alleged that the statement did not only justify the act of rape but also placed women and children as causal to their very pain and suffering… consequently silencing women and girls on the crime of rape,” Taoana said.

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