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Friday, 29 October 2010

RADIO'S BLIND EYE ON SWAZILAND

There are none so blind as he who will not see, is the best way to describe Rick Kelsey who reported on Swaziland for London’s LBC radio.

Kelsey visited Swaziland and wrote and presented a feature about rural life in the kingdom.

But somehow he managed not to see the seven in ten people who are so abjectly poor that they earn less than one US dollar a day. Nor did he meet any of the 300,000 people who would go hungry without the food donated by overseas’ aid organisation.

Unlike Michael Skolnik, who wrote and produced the documentary Without The King, Kelsey didn’t meet any of the Swazi rural folk who are struggling against state violence and organising politically to get democracy in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

And unlike the UK Government, he gave no warning about the dangers of terrorism and police violence to tourists visiting Swaziland.

Instead, he interviewed a number of people who want to make a quick buck out of tourists and emphasised what he called the ‘beautiful scenery and very happy, relaxed people’.

Kelsey was in Swaziland on assignment for LBC to make a feature called Destination of the Week for the radio programme the Travel Show. LBC had announced it would be broadcast on 17 October 2010. Then it was postponed for a week, but I'm told never aired.

LBC has been silent to my requests for information about the intended broadcast date. Meanwhile, however, the radio station has put the feature on its website as a podcast.

If you absolutely must - click here to hear it. Or click below.




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