protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other
persons or the private lives of persons concerned in
legal proceedings;
preventing the disclosure of information received in
maintaining the authority and independence of the courts;
regulating the technical administration of the technical
operation of telephony, telegraphy, posts,
wireless broadcasting or television or any other medium
of communication;

that imposes reasonable restrictions upon public officers, except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done
under the authority of that law is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
Such elaborate limitations can be used to curtail freedom of expression and freedom of the media. For example, allowing freedom of expression to be restricted in the interests of public morality gives huge scope for prohibiting free speech since there are no
agreed moral standards. Further, some of these limitations actually
entrench existing restrictive laws. For instance, preventing the release of information because it is received in confidence can be
used to justify the Official Secrets Act 1963, which prohibits access
to any kind of government-held information.
Before the Constitution was finalised, there were many objections
to this basic law, “but it was pushed through anyway.” Ironically,
those who pushed it through are now reluctant to allow constitutional rights in practice.
Customary law, which under Swaziland’s dual legal system has equal
status with the Roman Dutch Common Law and statutes, continues to restrict freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
For instance, there are cultural dictates that prevent people from
African Media Barometer - Swaziland 2007


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