Monday, February 9, 2009


Proof that freedom of speech only exists in Swaziland for those who can afford it comes with news that two small magazines are under threat of closure by the Swazi Government.

CAP Magazine, a business publication and the siSwati language Mbambambamba newspaper, have not paid a E1,000 (about 100 US dollars) fee to register with the Swazi Government.

In Swaziland, by law only publications approved by the government are allowed. So much for ‘free’ speech.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) reports that CAP Magazine, which was established last year, has said it has been approached by the office of the Director of Information, who is also the Registrar of newspapers under the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, to produce a registration licence or face closure.

The magazine editor, Sbongiseni Mamba, said they were shaken by the threat.

Mamba confirmed to MISA that their magazine is not registered as required by the Books and Newspaper Act 1963 and said this was because they were not aware of this legal requirement. He said now that they are they will promptly register to pre-empt the government threat.

‘Though we might have erred, we were not happy with the way the government issued its threat to close us down. It was as if the officer was not pleased by our mere existence. We felt there was more to the threat that the mere fact that we were not registered,’ Mamba told MISA Swaziland chapter.

He said they will try to comply as soon as possible to ensure that the publication continues to exist.

Mbambambamba newspaper, launched only last month, has also been reportedly pressured to register or face closure. Management of the newspaper is reported to have already made attempts to comply to avoid being closed down.

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