Friday, July 23, 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, has launched another attack on the freedom of the press.

Dlamini, who is a well documented enemy of freedom and democracy, says newspaper columnists who criticise his government and the Swazi ruling elites are ‘enemies of the state’.

He said their views got onto the Internet and ‘blemish’ the kingdom’s image.

His comments are reported in the print edition of the Times of Swaziland (but not in its online version) today (23 July 2010).

Dlamini, who was appointed by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, with a special mandate to attack anyone who opposed the king, said the newspapers had many columnists who had openly stated that they were advocating for a change of the system of government. He said he was worried about the ample space they were being given by the newspaper houses.

The Times, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported Dlamini saying that he was worried that the newspaper bosses allowed these columns to be published.

Dlamini said newspapers were seemingly dominated by ‘enemies of the state’ whose views find their way to the Internet and blemish Swaziland’s image.

‘There are columnists who have come out to say that they do not like how the country is governed but they are given huge space in the paper [to write] and their reports eventually make it to the Internet. I would like the media to answer this so that it can stop’, the Times quoted Dlamini saying.

This is not the first time in recent years that Dlamini has threatened the press. In February 2009 he warned journalists they would be charged with sedition if they wrote anything critical of King Mswati.

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