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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

JUSTICE MINISTER STARTS MEDIA ATTACK

Swaziland’s Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Sibusiso Shongwe has called for a new law to further restrict the news media in the kingdom.

He said Members of the Swazi Parliament should create legislation as soon as possible to regulate the media.

He also said that unknown entities were funding the private media in Swaziland to encourage them to discredit the kingdom’s courts and Judiciary.

Shongwe was speaking during a debate of his ministry’s second quarter budget performance report by the House of Assembly Portfolio Committee on Monday (10 November 2014).

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, quoted him saying, ‘The media has an agenda to fight the courts and I wonder who is funding it.’ 

The newspaper added that he said there was nothing wrong with the Judiciary, stating that the media was just creating uncertainty, which would lead to the rest of the citizens not trusting the courts yet everyone depended on the justice system. 

Censorship and intimidation of media is rife in Swaziland where Bheki Makhubu, editor of the Nation magazine and Thulani Maseko, a journalist and human rights lawyer, are serving two years in jail for writing articles critical of the Swazi Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi.

Nearly all radio and television stations are controlled by the state and news reports are heavily censored in favour of the King and the Royal Family.

In August 2014 Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Dumisani Ndlangamandla said the Swaziland Government would not let up on its control of state radio,  He said state media existed primarily to serve the interests of the state.
The Times reported that Shongwe said the media got away with a lot and published whatever they pleased because they knew that all they had to do was just issue a small retraction in the corner of page two.

‘The police, for example, are punished if they have wrongfully beaten up a person, but the media, just like lawyers in some instances, gets away with a lot,’ it quoted him saying.


See also

NO LET UP ON SWAZI MEDIA CENSORSHIP
BILL LETS KING CONTROL BROADCASTING
MOVE TO MERGE STATE BROADCASTERS
BROADCASTING IS NOT FOR THE PEOPLE
GOVT ‘TIGHTENS GRIP ON CENSORSHIP’
KING’S PAPER BACKS RADIO CENSORSHIP
GOVT BANS MPS FROM THE RADIO
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2012/08/new-radio-censorship-rules-released.html

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