MBABANE: Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, the Director of the Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations ( CANGO) said media freedom is essential in the country’s development.
Speaking to this Swaziland News on Monday during the World Press Freedom Day under the theme ‘ Information as a public good’ the CANGO Director said information helps people to share ideas on issues affecting their development, so journalists should be allowed to provide it freely to the public.
“Our constitution guarantees the freedom of information, information belongs to the people. We may have different ideologies but we should have information from all sides so that the public can decide on what is good for them. Journalists should be allowed to work freely without the fear of persecution, they should provide information that will contribute to the country’s development and this include exposing corruption. We condemn the persecution of journalists that we have seen in the country”, said the CANGO Director.
When reached for comments, Pius Vilakati , the newly elected International Secretary of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) said unfortunately press freedom would always remain a dream in this country.
“When it comes to Swaziland, press freedom remains nothing but a dream since 1973. The only "freedom" Swaziland's press has is to propagate Tinkhundla ideas. With regard to the theme "Information a public good", this lack of freedom of the press has manifested itself very well during the COVID-19 pandemic. The regime has kept vital information from the public, such as the lack of oxygen in public hospitals, a reality of Swaziland even before the pandemic. Those journalists who got information and shared it with the public were seen as enemies of the regime and have been victimised”,he said.
World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on 3 May every year, acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and ethics.
But as the world celebrates this day, Eswatini remains one of the countries in Southern Africa that are known for persecuting journalists, on or around March 2020 , government issued a warrant of arrest against Zweli Martin Dlamini the editor of this Swaziland News for writing critical articles about King Mswati. A month later, the Eswatini Police kidnapped and tortured Swati Newsweek editor Eugene Dube for a similar offence, both journalists were forced to skip the country for their safety.
CANGO Director Emmanuel Ndlangamandla