Journalists in Swaziland are so scared of censorship they don’t do their job properly and that is a disgrace, a Swazi media expert has said.
So, ordinary people using Internet social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are taking up issues affecting Swaziland that journalists will not.
Dr. Maxwell Mthembu, a lecturer in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Swaziland, said social media were the future of information sharing in Swaziland. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported him saying journalists were now unable to do their jobs properly because of censorship, which was at times self-imposed.
‘It is a shame and disgrace how journalist are now scared of addressing issues of importance, things affecting the nation. They are now even scared of addressing corruption,’ he told a meeting in Mbabane to mark World Press Freedom Day yesterday (3 May 2011).
Mthembu said social media were giving the people ignored by Swaziland’s ruling elite a platform to voice their concerns which were ignored by mainstream media.
He said social media were offering breaking news even before it could reach the mainstream media.
Mthembu said it was becoming pointless to censor the media because the news was available in social media.
He said government was failing to understand that the media landscape had changed over time. ‘Lack of public debate of social, political and economic issues will result in an increase of the use of social media,’ he said.