Thursday, February 12, 2009


A woman journalist was harassed and barred from reporting the speech of King Mswati III at the opening of the Swaziland Parliament.

Mantoe Phakathi, from the privately-owned Nation magazine, was treated this way because she is a woman.

According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Swazi Parliament officials first warned Phakathi that since she was female she would not be allowed to take pictures of the King.

In a statement MISA said, at first Phakathi took the warning lightly because she said she had never heard or read of such a rule in her entire career. But as she went about her duties inside the chambers of Parliament, the Clerk at Table of the House of Assembly, Ndvuna Dlamini, an ex journalist himself, ordered that Phakathi be expelled, even though she had been accredited to cover the event.

She was eventually thrown out by security personnel. Speaking to journalists later Phakathi said she felt very humiliated in that she was the only journalist to be thrown out of the House.

Nation Editor, Bheki Makhubu said it came as a shock to him to learn about the harassment and expulsion of his journalist from Parliament.

‘Because of this we don’t have the pictures and story about the opening of Parliament. There is nothing we can do as we are a small publication but we are not happy about the sexist act by the government,’ Makhubu said.

The Clerk at Table claimed that Phakathi was not dressed properly since she had not covered her head, hence her expulsion.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland chapter has issued a statement condemning the discriminatory and sexist act from the officials and has demanded that government and Parliament should apologise to Phakathi and the Nation magazine ‘for this act which was clearly humiliating to the journalist’.

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