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Monday, 21 October 2013

‘ONLY 1 IN 4 FEEL FREE TO SPEAK OPENLY’

Fewer than one in four people in Swaziland say they are completely free to say what they think, new research has shown.
 
That puts Swaziland 29th out of 34 African countries surveyed.

The report, released in Nairobi by Afrobarometer, says in the countries where people feel least free, only about one in four feel they have unrestricted opportunities to speak their minds. Bottom of the log are Sudan (19 percent), Togo (21 percent), Cote d'Ivoire (21 percent), Zimbabwe (22 percent) and Swaziland (24 percent).

The Afrobarometer report was written by Professor Winnie Mitullah, director of the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi, and Paul Kamau, senior research fellow at the same institute.

In a news release issued with the report, Afrobarometer said, ‘Where people feel that they are free to say what they want, they also report that their leaders are more trustworthy and less corrupt than do their peers, the survey shows.

‘Freedom of expression is also consistently linked to better ratings of government performance, especially with respect to government effectiveness in fighting corruption, but also in other sectors such as maintaining roads and managing the economy.’

Researchers interviewed more than 51,000 people in 34 countries for the survey.

The report revealed that in Swaziland 51 percent of people surveyed supported the statement, ‘Media should have freedom to publish.’  A total of 47 percent supported the statement, ‘Government should control the media.’

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