Communication Regulatory Body (ERCA), which
regulates journalists’ conduct and investigates
producers of online content without judicial
oversight. The body is also mandated to suspend
or ban websites that fail to abide by “good
standards of journalism”.
In addition, publication of hate speech,
defamatory material and false news are offences.
Angola’s private media outlets are owned by high
ranking state officials, thereby acting as the
government’s mouthpiece, and making it difficult
to do critical reporting against the state. Despite
this, there have been no known incidents of the
government blocking or filtering online content
during the reporting period.
Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, is an absolute
In their 2013 report on the state of press
freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists
reported that South African newspapers
entering the country are thoroughly screened
for information negatively depicting the king
and if found, all copies are purchased by the
government and destroyed.
The country has two newspapers; the Eswatini
Observer (formerly Swazi Observer), indirectly
owned by the king, while the Times of Swaziland
is privately owned, but reported to be linked to
the kingdom.
The country has approximately 32 laws that
are restrictive to the media, like the Swaziland
Television Authority Act 1983, Proscribed
Publications Act 1968, Obscene Publications Act
1927, Books and Newspaper Act 1963 which
regulates the registration of newspapers, Official
Secrets Act 1968, Cinematograph Act 1920, and
the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act 1938,
which provides for the suppression of sedition and
seditious publications and criminalises criticising
the king or any member of the royal family.

The Official Secrets Act of 1967 also criminalises
communication of information of “prohibited
places” under section 4, while section 34 of the
Internal Security (General) Act of 1984 punishes
publications “that might reasonably be expected
to result in the commission of public violence.”
The 1938 colonial Sedition Proclamation further
criminalises in an overly broad manner the
publication of seditious material.
At the start of 2020, Lesotho’s Informative
newspaper was fined heavily by the High Court
in a default ruling against it in a defamation case
over the Defence Director in a row over property.
In Malawi, 2019 was characterised by protests
against the Electoral Commission for mismanaging
the Presidential Elections. Here, we saw both the
Constitutional and Supreme Courts recognising
the importance of the media as an actor in the
justice system, by allowing, for the first time,
live coverage of the 2019 Presidential Elections
petitions by mainstream national radio outlets.
This bolstered the principle of open justice, and
set a precedent, appreciating the media’s role in
covering and reporting judicial processes for the
Malawi, however, still has laws like the Official
Secrets Act (1913), the Printed Publications
Act (1947) and the Censorship and Control
of Entertainments Act (1968) as well as the
Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Act, which
have been used to hinder the work of journalists
and to silence critics. In 2019, Bon Kalindo, a
former Member of Parliament was arrested under
the Protected Flags, Emblems and Names Act
for allegedly insulting the then President, Peter
In terms of plurality, it is reported that
Malawi has about 90 media outlets. The public

The Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill of
2020, if passed into law, will further criminalise
publication of “fake news” that damages the
country’s image, with liability of a fine of up to 10
million SZL (about US$620 000) or 10 years in
prison. In September 2020, Mangqoba Khumalo,
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade, stated
that the law is not aimed at curtailing media
freedoms, but protecting people online using Police arrest photojourglobally benchmarked controls around the digital
nalist Santos Samuspace (5).
esecca while he was
In Lesotho, section 10(1) of the Printing
and Publishing Act of 1967 makes it an offence
to import, print, publish, sell, offer for sale,
distribute, or reproduce statements which pose a
danger to “public safety” and “public order”.

covering an anti-government protest in the
Angolan capital, Luanda,
on October 24, 2020

Select target paragraph3