‘Speak up’ on the threats

Intimidation on so­cial me­dia fright­ened the Le­sotho-based SABC jour­nal­ist so much that she fled the coun­try

The New Age (Free State) - - NEWS - BECKER SEMELA beck­ers@the­newage.co.za

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.

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