Alert / Media Alert

PM says ministers must respond to petitions–MISA agrees

MISA-Swaziland Alert
5 June 2013

Swaziland’s Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini said he respects when petitions are delivered to government ministries, according to the Swazi Observer on May 31 2013.

The newspaper reported the PM as saying “those responsible for the petitions had a responsibility to act and respond to the petitions”.

MISA-Swaziland chairman Alec Lushaba (R) presenting the media freedom peition to ICT principal secretary Bheki Gama

MISA-Swaziland chairman Alec Lushaba (R) presenting the media freedom peition to ICT principal secretary Bheki Gama on May 3 2013

On May 3 2013, World Press Freedom Day, Swaziland’s foremost press freedom NGO, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland), media partners and civil society delivered petitions calling for media freedom to the minister of information, communication and technology, Winnie Magagula, and to minister of justice, Mgwagwa Gamedze.

A month has passed since the ministers received the petition — which can be viewed on MISA-Swaziland’s facebook page — and MISA has heard no word from either minister.

MISA-Swaziland chairman Alec Lushaba (R) presenting the media freedom petition to ministry of justice under-secretary Siboniso Masilela

MISA-Swaziland chairman Alec Lushaba (R) presenting the media freedom petition to ministry of justice under-secretary Siboniso Masilela on May 3 2013

Therefore, with the PM’s words in mind, MISA-Swaziland calls on Minister Magagula and Minister Gamedze to respond to the media freedom petitions.

As PM Dlamini was reported to have said, “the relevant minister has the onus to respond to the petitions in good faith as government respected such [media] freedoms,” before adding the somewhat unclear phrase, “despite that it could not claim to be perfect”.

While on the surface some of his words are encouraging, in the above phrase MISA seeks clarification from the PM on what he means by, “that it could not claim to be perfect”?

MISA welcomes the media freedom debate generated by So This is Democracy report.

For comments or queries, please contact:
Vuyisile Hlatshwayo, MISA-Swaziland National Director

Email: misa.nd@realnet.co.sz

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