The Lesotho government is seeking to regulate social media with some new rules stipulated in the Lesotho Communications Authority (Internet Broadcasting) Rules 2020.
The objective of these rules is to “make provision for regulation of Internet broadcasting distributed over the Internet.” Under the proposed bill, an internet broadcaster is a person who posts a text, picture, video or audio on an internet platform to be accessed by the public, either on social media or website.
The most interesting part of the proposed rules is the requirement of a special licence for people with over 100 followers. Internet broadcasting is defined as a post accessible to at least 100 Internet users in Lesotho or internet posts by users who have more than 100 followers in Lesotho.
The bill proposes that people who indulge in “Internet broadcasting” will have to register with the Lesotho Telecommunications Authority. They will have to have documents of incorporation, proof of residence and ability to comply with their 2004 rules. The Authority will then issue a certificate of registration if the above conditions are met. The person who will conduct “internet broadcasting” will have to register within 6 months thereof the commencement of the rules.
The proposed rules also stipulate that if the authority concludes that an internet post does not comply with the provisions of the Lesotho Telecommunications Rules 2004, it will direct for the post to be removed.
The proposed social media rules by Lesotho is a stark reminder of the ones issued by Tanzania a few years back. In 2018, the Electronic and Postal Communications Regulations was signed into law which govern social media use. In the same year, Uganda started charging social media users a tax for social media use. In Kenya, the controversial computer misuse and cybercrimes law was made constitutional early this year after a long battle in court