The Swazi Government looks set to push through its plan to take even more control of the media in Swaziland.
Barnabas Dlamini, the kingdom’s illegally-appointed prime minister ,told editors in Swaziland that he did not see any reason why the media should have its own set of rules and regulations when the government could impose one on them.
The Government of Swaziland insists on media statutory regulation and has vowed to push through the Media Commission Bill 2007 which seeks to regulate the media by statute. The government recently declined to register the voluntary Media Complaints Commission (MCC), a self-regulatory framework.
On 25 March 2010, the Prime Minister (PM), [Barnabas] Sibusiso Dlamini, answering a question from editors on why government has refused to register the MCC, hinted that there was no need for the MCC as the statutory Media Commission was on its way.
“There is a Media Bill that is being prepared and has been to Cabinet. A few things are now being corrected. We hope the Bill will soon be brought to Parliament by the Minister and it will clarify where the Media Complaints Commission stands. You will also be consulted,” the PM told the editors during a routine monthly breakfast meeting to brief the media about government operations.
The PM's comments confirmed recent reports by lawyers representing the media and helping to register the MCC that government had declined to register the MCC arguing that its objectives overlapped with those of the proposed statutory Media Commission.
The media is currently weighing options of going to court to compel the government to register the MCC. However, the media are yet to meet with the Minister for Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) on the way forward with regards to the MCC.