Lesotho may be a small landlocked country but the population is currently close to 2.2 million with a high literacy rate of 73%. The constitution of Lesotho protects basic civil liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of religion. Thus, although the constitution has no explicit laws regarding freedom of the press, this freedom is enjoyed by journalists and media practitioners. And as with other African countries such as Ghana, Lesotho’s media landscape is characterized by two state-run radio stations in addition to about 10 private stations, and many South African and other foreign broadcasts reach Lesotho. Two community radio stations were recently established in Lesotho. Mafeteng Community Radio was established in 2012 and broadcasts to an estimated population of 70,000 people. Motjoli FM was set up in May 2014 and broadcasts within a 50-kilometer radius of the Thaba-Tseka area.
Radio is the most popular medium of mass communication in the country. This could probably be because there is only one television station in the country and even this one is state-run. The country’s media development is constrained by inadequate funding and resources. Because most media houses rely heavily on state-funded advertising, the government is able to tacitly encourage favorable coverage.
Although Lesotho is a small country, there are currently 13 radio stations all targeting a wide audience. The majority of the radio shows are in English which focuses on millennials. Radio Lesotho’s commercial channel, ‘The Ultimate 99.8 FM’, was launched in 2006. It broadcasts interactive, youth-oriented programmes as well as news flashes in English.
Satellite connectivity exists for Radio Lesotho, Ultimate FM and LTV (following an agreement entered into with MultiChoice) which allows these broadcasters to be viewed and listened too countrywide as well as outside Lesotho’s borders on DSTV. In addition, South African television networks are available in Lesotho, as are satellite links to other broadcasters. Because of high distribution costs and low literacy rates, especially in rural areas, radio is the most popular news medium.
A full range of advertising opportunities exist for brands looking to target an audience in Lesotho including television, print and outdoor but if advertising in Lesotho is something your brand is considering, we recommend starting out with radio advertisements. If you would like to find out more about how to get started, get in touch with our team today.