In partnership with the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) and the International Commission of Justice (ICJ), TRC says the rules would pose serious obstacle to the enjoyment of freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Recently, the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) released a public consultation notice, notifying the general public that it intends to promulgate its internet broadcasting rules.
The objective of the proposed rules, the LCA says is to make provision for regulation of internet broadcasting and content distributed over the internet.
The proposed rules define the internet broadcasting as internet posts accessible to at least 100 internet users in Lesotho, whether individually or in a series, and internet posts by users who have more than 100 followers in the country.
“The draft rules will require persons who conduct internet broadcasting as defined in the draft rules, to register with the LCA and such persons will be required to comply with the broadcasting principles and standards under the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority (Broadcasting) Rules of 2004,” the LCA stated in a statement two weeks ago.
The draft rules will further empower the LCA to conduct investigations on internet broadcasting that are suspected of contravening the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority (Broadcasting) Rules and may direct or facilitate removal of such posts or content.
However, roughly two weeks later, the international human rights bodies are calling for its immediate withdrawal, saying the requirements constitute onerous and arbitrary restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of expression and freedom of association.
“Certain provisions of the proposed rules are vague and overboard and therefore, are open to abuse and could result in violations of human rights by authorities in Lesotho.