‘Speak up’ on the threats
Intimidation on social media frightened the Lesotho-based SABC journalist so much that she fled the country
LESOTHO-BASED SABC journalist, Nthakoana Ngatane, whose life has been threatened, has called on the Lesotho government to speak up on threats against journalists.
Speaking on the SABC platform, Ngatane said if journalists felt they could not tell the story then there was a bigger problem that needed to be solved.
“I think what the Lesotho government must do is to speak out against people persecuting journalists because those people are doing it in the name of their leadership,” Ngatane said.
She received threats on social media that she would be raped and killed. The threats are said to be due to her reporting on the political climate in Lesotho.
She said the media played a vital role of being the voice of the people, regardless of what that voice is. It was the best way for everyone to know what was happening in the country.
“But if journalists are feeling they cannot tell the story because of speaking against one person or another as their lives are in danger, then we have an even bigger problem that needs to be solved,” Ngatana said.
The national broadcaster said Ngatane would be based in Johannesburg until the matter was resolved.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said on the corporation’s website that they decided to bring her back to Johannesburg where she will be working from, for now, until matters are resolved.
“We are also engaging with the government of Lesotho in this matter.”
Earlier this year, two of Lesotho’s radio stations were taken off air reportedly on the instruction of the communications minister.
Speaking on the SABC channel 404, Ngatane said she had to flee Lesotho because she no longer felt free to do her job there.
“I felt threatened while I was doing my job and this has been happening in the past few years.
“I saw it was continuing and even getting worse and more personal, with threats to my life,” she said.
Ngatane said a couple of months ago she heard many things from people taking upon themselves to say she should be raped, killed or rather leave the country.
“This time around it was more from the social media and it was hurtful because I realised that there were people using the name of the people who do not want the media to do their work,” she said.
Shireen Mukadam from Amnesty International said they called on all the Lesotho authorities to publicly reaffirm their commitment to respect and to fulfil the right to freedom of expression.
She said they were also calling for the investigation into the shooting of the Lesotho Times editor Lloyd Mutungamiri, on July 9 last year and more than a year later they were still seeing a lack of justice for the crime.
“We have documented the public statement of the new human rights agenda with clear recommendations to the new Lesotho government on how they can address the press code of continuity for human rights violation and specifically of freedom of expression which we see continuing in Lesotho today despite the new regime,” Mukadam said.
SHAKEN: SABC political reporter Nthakoana Ngatane was forced too flee Lesotho after receiving death threats.