HomeNewsKing Mswati III under fire over media rights violations

King Mswati III under fire over media rights violations

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BY MOSES MATENGA

MEDIA organisations across the globe have joined the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in calling for order, urging Africa’s last absolute leader, to desist from attacking journalists and shutting down the internet amid protests in that country.

In a letter dated July 6, 2021 addressed to King Mswati III and copied to the High Commission of The Kingdom of Eswatini in Pretoria, South Africa, MISA Regional governing council Chairperson, Golden Maunganidze, said the treatment journalists were getting was “worrying and must stop forthwith”.

Two reporters were reportedly shot at by the police in Eswatini, with one of them sustaining serious injuries.

“This is grossly unacceptable and goes against the values that the Kingdom claims to uphold. We are deeply worried by the turn of events in Eswatini and call upon the authorities to do everything possible to ensure that media workers are protected and are not subject to wanton attacks by security forces,” Mavunganidze said.

“In that respect, and by virtue of this letter, we appeal to Your Majesty to halt these media violations in Eswatini. While we appreciate the difficult situation the Eswatini government has to contend with regarding the protests, clamping down on media freedom and freedom of expression cannot be the solution to calming the current political turbulence in your country.”

He added: “In times of crises, authorities should treat the media as allies in conveying accurate and verifiable information on the unfolding events, rather than clamping down on the press. This only serves to heighten tensions.”

 Several media organisations including Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), Bloggers of Zambia, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Institute for Media and Society (IMS), International Press Center (IPC) and the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) also urged a quick return to normalcy in the southern African kingdom.

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