Search This Blog

For more coverage follow us also on Twitter and Facebook


Saturday, 21 August 2010

SWAZI SENATE BULLIES PRESS - AGAIN

Swaziland senators are up to their old tricks – trying to intimidate local journalists.


The latest victim is Alec Lushaba, editor of the Weekend Observer.


They are angry at an article he wrote last week (14 August 2010) in which he criticised them for being too soft on government ministers.


The senators claim the article was in contempt of the senate and have set up a committee to investigate it.


Swazi senators have form in this. They reckon no one is allowed to criticise their activities and if local journalists dare to do so they get harassed. If it goes to plan the committee will call witnesses to debate the merits of the article and Lushaba will have it all hanging over his head.


The idea, of course, is to stop journalists criticising the senators. If reporters know they will have to jump through hoops to establish their innocence, they might be reluctant to make the criticism in the first place.


But the senators won’t get it all their own way.


In 2007 when a committee was set up to investigate a claim of contempt against Mbingo Mbongeni, the then editor of the Times Sunday and now editor-in-chief of the Times of Swaziland, it declared he had a constitutional right to freedom of expression and it dismissed the charge.


Lushaba has done nothing wrong. We all have a constitutional right to free speech. The senate should cancel the committee of inquiry and set about answering the criticisms made and stop trying to dodge them.

No comments: