A formal complaint has been lodged against Swaziland’s Times Sunday and its writer Qalakaliboli Dlamini after the newspaper published an article encouraging hatred of gays.
The Times readers’ ombudsman has been asked to investigate a complaint that Dlamini broke the Swaziland National Association of Journalists’ code of ethics.
Prof Richard Rooney, former head of the department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Swaziland, has written to the ombudsman to ask for a formal investigation.
The ombudsman adjudicates on complaints readers have against articles published in the Times group of newspapers.
Rooney wrote, ‘The article contained a lengthy attack on homosexuals and included the phrase, “I hate homosexuality with every fibre of hair or flesh in my body.” Dlamini also wrote homosexuals performed “satanic deeds” and were an “abomination”.
‘Dlamini’s article contrives Article 13 of the Swaziland National Association of Journalists code of ethics which states, “Hate speech: ‘Journalists shall avoid by all means the publication of speech that might promote hatred, spite and conflict amongst the Swazi or any other nation.”
‘Hate speech is a type of speech or writing which can do any of the following: deliberately offend, degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on their race, ethnicity, profession, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. It can be aimed at an individual; or racial, ethnic, religious or other group. Such speech generally seeks to condemn or dehumanize the individual or group; or express anger, hatred, violence or contempt toward them.’
Already many readers have lodged complaints against the article on the Times’ website and the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations has asked Times Managing Editor Mbingo Mbongeni to take ‘positive action’ against Dlamini.
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