Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The war declared by Swaziland King Mswati III against his own people has entered a second phase with a warning by the Swazi top law officer that journalists who are critical of the government ‘would be viewed as supporting “terrorists” and arrested’.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) reports that on Monday (17 November 2008) Swaziland’s Attorney General, Majahenkhaba Dlamini, also told journalists, ‘If you appear to be supporting terrorists in your reporting, woe unto you.’

The warning comes in the wake of a national and international outcry against the Swaziland ruling elite who last Friday declared four political formations to be ‘terrorist’ groups. The following day Mario Masuku, the president of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), was arrested.

At first the police tried to charge Masuku with possessing terrorist equipment and when they found no evidence against him they changed the charge to making comments that support terrorism.

MISA-Swaziland has issued a statement condemning the threats against journalists and also called for an end to the arrest, intimidation and harassment of government critics. MISA says this seriously undermines freedom of expression enshrined and guaranteed in the Swazi constitution.

MISA-Swaziland noted that threats against journalists have the potential to instil fear in the already timid Swazi press.

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