M INTRODUCTION uch to the delight of the media fraternity, human rights defenders and political activists, 2016 was not a year of doom and gloom in Swaziland, as positive developments overshadowed negative ones. Signs of the thawing of the usually cold relations between government and media began to show during the period under review. This can largely be attributed to the mission to the country by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, and her team from 7 to 11 March 2016. After taking stock of the state of human rights, Tlakula drew the attention of senior members of both the executive and legislature to human rights violations that were going unchecked in Swaziland and its population of 1,2 million inhabitants. Armed with information obtained from the media, civil society and trade unions, Tlakula enumerated these human rights violations, among others, as the criminalisation of freedom of expression, criminal defamation law, existence of 33 media restrictive laws, lack of freedom of information, a ban of citizens from state broadcasters, and failure to liberalise the airwaves. Commissioner Tlakula then proposed to 94 So This is Democracy? 2016 the media fraternity holding a National Media Indaba in Swaziland intended to raise awareness among media practitioners, legislators, government officials, civil society actors and members of the public of human rights-related issues, focusing mainly on freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information. Signs of the thawing of the usually cold relations between government and media began to show... Responding to the team’s report, the government conceded its failure to uphold and respect the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution and hastened to make promises to correct the situation and meet compliance with regional and international human rights instruments. This was a cue for lawmakers to press ahead with the suspension of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in Parliament until government lifted the ban on members of parliament from having access to state broadcasters. Influenced by MISA Swaziland media literacy workshops, the ICT Ministry Parliamentary Portfolio Committee was behind the campaign against the ministry. Facing the dire prospect of a frozen budget and stalled projects, the ICT minister finally capitulated and lifted the ban imposed three years ago.