Friday, September 11, 2009


The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has roundly condemned continuing censorship and the lack of media freedom in Swaziland.

Following its annual meeting last week MISA issued a statement urging the Swazi Government to ensure ‘that fundamental and international standards on media and freedom of expression rights are adhered to. These include Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Windhoek Declaration, the African Charter on Broadcasting, the Banjul Declaration on Freedom of Expression in Africa and Section 24 of the Swazi Constitution’.

MISA also called upon the Swazi Government to engage media players ‘in a process of dialogue to review restrictive media laws that infringe on media and freedom of expression rights.’

It said, ‘Such laws include among others, the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008 and Electronic Evidence Act 2009.’

MISA went on to express concern on the state of the media and freedom of expression rights in Swaziland especially the censorship and intimidation of the media and journalists.

‘We, therefore, call upon the government to ensure the safety of Swazi media workers who face harassment be it by security forces or traditional authorities and drop any legal cases against media workers or citizens charged for freely expressing themselves.

‘We also call the Swazi government to embark on a process of reforms in the management of the State owned media by guaranteeing and ensuring editorial independence of such media.’

MISA saw some little thing to praise the Swazi Government for – its effort to implement a freedom of information law.

Clutching at straws the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch – put this headline up on its report of the MISA AGM

MISA commends Govt on working towards access to information laws

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