Harvest FM has lost a court bid to have a three-month suspension lifted, writes Mzimkhulu Sithetho.

 

The station had applied for the station to be allowed back on air pending a high court review of the suspension. Dismissing the application with costs, Acting Judge Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane said the high court should not reverse the decision made by the Lesotho Communication Authority.

But she said the relevant section of law had been drafted in a “totally inelegant way. It lacks clarity and it is generally confusing.

“It makes no sense, therefore, why the same legislature would entrust the LCA with such powers only to have its enforcement powers suspended or deferred whenever there are pending review proceedings in the high court,” she said.

After receiving complaints against the station, the regulator had decided to take it off air for 12 months, nine of which are suspended on condition that Harvest does not violate its license provisions,

The Communications Principal Secretary last year, Tseliso Mokela, had complained that the station’s popular phone-in talk show, Rise and Shine was provocative and that people used vulgar language and harassed the people.

In another complaint, Police Commissioner Malejaka Letooane had complained about a news report claiming the police had killed a suspect in their custody in November 2007. The report had been inaccurate, malicious and defamatory, he charged.

In the court application, station manager Malichaba Lekhoaba – the wife of the deported former manager Rev Adam Lekhoaba – had submitted that the station sought the interim order because the radio was going to lose business with advertisers during the three months of suspension.