The Swaziland Solidarity Network has criticised Nelisiwe Shongwe, the Minister of Information Communication and Technology, for censoring both the BBC World Service radio and keeping the voices of protesting Swazi nurses off the state-run SBIS radio.
The following is a statement from SSN released today (9 March 2011).
ICT MINISTER COMES UNDER FROM MPS FIRE FOR HER CENSORSHIP CAMPAIGN
Previously uncensored news has recently been closely monitored and effectively blocked from the public by Swaziland’s state owned media.
On the same day that she publicly declared that BBC news broadcasts were being censored, the ever controversial minister of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Nelisiwe Shongwe, was quizzed by parliamentarians on why a nurses ‘march through the capital city was not covered by the state radio, SBIS (Swaziland Information and Broadcasting Service).
The nurses were demanding overtime payments for January and marched to the ministry of health to deliver a petition demanding its immediate payment. Another point raised by the members of parliament was the interference in the recruitment process of the country’s only television broadcaster, Swazi TV.
These pertinent questions were posed by parliamentarians during the debate for the ministry’s budget allocation.
The parliamentarians’ recent attitude of the question of media censorship is unprecedented and could be a sign of the times. It is unfortunate that sometimes parliamentarians raise these questions out of personal differences with the ministers involved rather than a genuine concern for media freedoms. They are, after all, willing participants in this oppressive system of government.
SWAZILAND CENSORS BBC RADIO