16 September 1997


Ban against media from covering parliamentary debates lifted

Incident details

legal action

(MISA/IFEX) - The Lesotho Speaker of parliament has lifted an
order banning the media from covering parliamentary debates,
reports the Media Institute of Lesotho (MILES). Speaker Dr.
Teboho Kolane lifted the ban on 15 September 1997. Although he
did not give reasons for lifting the ban, MILES believes Kolane's
decision was in response to mounting international pressure.
MILES, however, says the public remains banned from attending
parliamentary debates.

00002340, 00002332

**Updates IFEX alerts dated 8, 3 and 2 September 1997**

Background Information

On 28 August, Kolane imposed the ban on the media and the public
after a feud between the ruling Basotoland Congress Party (BCP)
and the breakaway Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCP).
Journalists' attempts from 1 to 5 September to persuade the
speaker to reverse his decision failed. Instead, armed police
were used to deny journalists entry into parliament. However, on
3 September, the media enjoyed a partial victory when they were
allowed to cover the upper house of Parliament. The Principle
Chief Whip of the Senate, Chief Khobane Theko mediated on behalf
of the media to allow them entry (see IFEX alerts).


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