The following is a media statement from the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) denying that it has links with the African United Democratic Party (AUDP) and criticising the Swaziland media for reporting that it has.
PUDEMO SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
23 January 2011
We wish to correct the unfortunate, incorrect and highly misleading assertion by the media in Swaziland, in particular most recently the Times Group of newspapers that the African United Democratic Party (AUDP) “is a breakaway wing of PUDEMO.”
No matter how many times this can be repeated, it will not distort the truth. PUDEMO has neither links nor history with the AUDP. We share nothing in common ideologically and otherwise. The formation of the AUDP has got nothing to do with PUDEMO – period! We cannot recall in our history where the founders of the AUDP decided to walk out of PUDEMO and announce they were breaking away to form their own organization.
We humbly request the local media to therefore, correctly identify the AUDP and allow it to do its operations without the media linking it to PUDEMO, especially its formation and history – lest this be accepted as truthful when in fact it is not.
We may never know what the intention of the media is by constantly reporting and misleading its readership on this matter. If it is not intentional and deliberate, then we forgive them with the understanding that this will not happen ever again in the future.
However, if this is deliberately done by the media in general or by individuals within the media, then we have no choice but to conclude that there is a deliberate ploy to undermine PUDEMO, a very unfortunate scenario journalistically. Such negative and incorrect reporting on PUDEMO and its members has been happening in the past and were forced to approach the former Managing Editor Martin Dlamini to correct with his reporting staff. Such incorrect and misleading captions were:
“PUDEMO turns … into a political rally.”
We are also aware that at times the local media does not publish the correct information that we give it on the pretext that we are a banned organization. Surprisingly we would find incorrect and negative information on PUDEMO splashed in the media without verifying with us on the true position. PUDEMO is always available and does not shy away from the media.
This humble advice is not only directed to the Times Group, but to all media houses in Swaziland. We urge the media in general and individual journalists to report fairly and in a balanced way not only on PUDEMO, but on any issue that is of interest to the general readership to avoid creating negative perceptions on the media.