The editor of the Swazi News says she finds it ‘very scary’ to write for her newspaper following the High Court ruling that could send one of her fellow editors to jail for two years.
Phephisa Khoza said the decision to fine the Nation magazine editor Bheki Mukhubu E200,000 (US$22,000) or send him to jail if he does not pay by 23 April 2013, was ‘one of the harshest sentences to be handed down by our courts’.
Mukhubu was sentenced for ‘scandalising’ the courts after he wrote two articles for his magazine criticising the judiciary.
Writing in the Swazi News on Saturday (20 April 2013), Khoza said, ‘The sun has set on media freedom in the country.’
She said, ‘For a long time the country’s politicians have been saying media practitioners in the country are free to write on any issue.
‘As a journalist I find it very scary to write this piece. I do not know what those in charge of the administration of justice will perceive it as but the sentence on Bheki Mukhubu and The Nation magazine is one of the harshest sentences to be handed down by our courts.’
Khoza, edits the Swazi News, part of the Times of Swaziland group, which publishes the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III’s, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Khoza said, ‘A free media is the epitome of democracy and basic liberties. A country’s freedom is measured through the way the country treats its media. An independent press should be the mirror of society and that helps to play the role of watchdogs where there are no political parties.
‘The world measures a free society through the freedom of its press.’
FUND SET UP IN BID TO PAY EDITOR’S FINE
NOT FIRST ATTACK ON ‘NATION’ EDITOR
EDITOR’S SENTENCE ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’
EDITOR FACING JAIL TO APPEAL SENTENCE
VOICES SUPPORTING BELEAGUERED EDITOR
A TALE OF TWO SWAZI EDITORS
PUDEMO CONDEMNS EDITOR’S CONVICTION
ARTICLES THAT MIGHT GET EDITOR JAILED
SOUTH AFRICA EDITORS BACK MAKHUBU
HIGH COURT SUPPRESSES MEDIA FREEDOM
MISA: EDITOR’S CONVICTION ‘BRUTAL’
EDITOR’S CONTEMPT SENTENCE ‘SHOCKING’
EDITOR SET FOR TWO YEARS IN JAIL