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On Lesotho Coup & TV Black-out, UN's Ban Now Concerned, Silent on Censorship

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 31 -- After Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fled his country to South Africa, the US State Department on August 30 said the US “is deeply concerned by clashes between security forces today in Lesotho, and calls upon government officials and all parties to remain committed to peaceful political dialogue and to follow democratic processes in line with the Lesotho Constitution and principles of the rule of law.”

  Fifteen hours later, the US echoed the concerned, from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: he is “concerned about the reported military takeover in Lesotho” and “calls for respect for the constitutional order and democratic rule.”

   Ban said nothing about censorship or the media black out.

    But from Johannesburg, the government of South Africa issued a statement that it “has verified that the Lesotho Defense Force did take over the radio and TV stations, resulting in a total black out in broadcast.”

  That seems it might have been a key thing for Ban Ki-moon to mention, especially 15 hours later. But no. This is a trend noted by the Free UN Coalition for Access. We'll have more on this.

  Meanwhile, this question: who will represent Lesotho at the upcoming UN General Assembly? Here's a speech by Lesotho last fall on de-colonization, French Polynesia and Western Sahara. And this year?


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