Lesotho police have been accused of shooting journalist Ntsoaki Motaung during a youth protest dubbed #BachaShutDown on 6 November 2020.
Motaung, who works for Newsday, was treated for minor wounds and discharged in the aftermath of the shooting.
On the same day the police arrested 357FM presenter Relebohile Moyeye Sebuti, for allegedly not wearing a mask. The police also detained Lentsoe la Basotho journalist, Moliwe Thobei , in as yet unclear circumstances. Sebuti and Thobei were released without being charged. Police justified their actions by saying they were dispersing an illegal gathering.
In the process, the police arrested 11 youths who had participated in the demonstration. The 11 appeared in court last week. The youth were protesting against joblessness and unemployment. Protests remain banned in Lesotho since the beginning of the country’s COVID-19 lockdown regulations on 3 April 2020.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe is concerned that regional governments continue to use the pretext of COVID-19 regulations to clamp down on media freedom and freedom of expression.
It is also worrying that the police had to use firearms, and in the process injuring a journalist who was carrying out her duties.
We urge the government of Lesotho and law enforcement agencies to ensure that journalists lawfully carrying out their duties are protected rather than harassed.
MISA Zimbabwe Regional Alert