In 2018, Lesotho joined the still very small club of countries that have declared the criminalization of defamation to be unconstitutional, but the authorities have continued to step up pressure on the media and journalists. The government brought a complaint against a radio station for “incitement to violence” in 2018 after a series of critical reports, while the army accused an investigative reporter of spying when she reported the demands for compensation being made by soldiers previously charged with planning a mutiny. Soldiers who are accused of trying to murder the editor of the Lesotho Times in 2016 have meanwhile yet to be brought to trial. Intimidation of the media has increased to the point that some journalists have had to flee to South Africa while those that have stayed often censor themselves. Newspapers and radio stations – the public’s main source of news because of the low literacy rate and newspaper distribution costs – have become less and less outspoken and depend on state advertising. Online news coverage is still relatively unrestricted but Internet access is very limited because of the lack of infrastructure and connection costs.
78 in 2019
29.74 in 2019