In the wake of these allegations, MISA
Swaziland asked the Swaziland Editors’
Forum (SEF) to investigate the damaging allegations published by one of
their members. SEF promised to do so,
but later reported that their efforts were
futile because the member refused to
cooperate. Quoted in the Sunday Observer, 17 December 2017, the SEF Secretary, Jabu Matsebula said: “As members of the Forum, we are concerned
that some of the articles published in
Swaziland Shopping failed to meet our
ethics standards”.

Swazis enjoyed their
right to free speech on
this day. They openly
criticised media capture by the state and
powerful individuals.
Things came to a head when the same
managing editor, perhaps due to poor
understanding of media law and the
Section 24 (3) of the Swazi Constitution,
implicated the same businessman in a
plot to kill the king. The ICT ministry
then jumped into action and used the
newspaper’s failure to comply with the
Books and Newspapers Act of 1963 to
shut down his newspaper. As an interested party, MISA Swaziland requested
an audience with him to cross-check
the facts, which he deemed unnecessary. On the heels of this, police in turn


So This is Democracy? 2017

wanted to question him about the alleged plot to kill the king, but as the net
was closing, he skipped the country to
South Africa.

Cognisant of the absence of a clearly
defined Swaziland Broadcasting and
Media Policy, the Ministry of ICT’s Information and Media Development Unit
set out to find a solution. Its first step
was to organise a three-day Swaziland
Broadcasting and Media Policy Indaba.
Swaziland tapped into experiences of
the South African regulatory media and
film bodies such as Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
(ICASA), South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC) and others. At the
end of the three-day conference, Acting Principal Secretary in the ICT Ministry requested the participants to elect
“knowledgeable” members to the Swaziland Broadcasting and Media Policy
Technical Committee.
In the runup to the 2018 elections,
MISA Swaziland hosted a workshop for
the community radio initiators. It introduced the Guidelines on Media Coverage of Elections in the SADC Region.
Members of the SCMN participated in
the workshop. They included the University of Swaziland, Lubombo Community, Ngwempisi Community, Matsanjeni South Community, Sidvwashini
Community and Seventh Day Adventist
Community. MISA Swaziland reminded
them to celebrate international media
days such as World Radio Day, WPFD,
International Day on Universal Access
to Information, and the Day to End Impunity Against Journalists. The workshop
promised to celebrate World Radio Day
on 13 February 2018 and they adopted
the Guidelines,making a promise to
abide by them in the coming elections.

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