Alert / Media Alert

‘Expose us when we abuse state resources,’ says SA deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as regional media faces renewed threats

MISA-Swaziland | Alert
June 23, 2014

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In today’s Swazi Observer, a daily newspaper in Swaziland, several reports from the region highlight the difficulties of being a journalist. 

A Somali journalist died in Mogadishu on Saturday after a bomb blast believed to be attached to his car was remotely detonated, according to witnesses and police as reported by South African Press Association (SAPA). 

The editor of a state-run newspaper in Zimbabwe faces life in prison if found guilty of charges of “attempting to commit an act of insurgency, banditry, sabotage, and terrorism” and “subverting the constitutional government”, also reported by SAPA. 

On a more positive note, South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the media to continue criticising the government while also calling for fair and balanced coverage. Ramaphosa said it was even necessary for the media to annoy public representatives. 

“Delight us, amuse us, educate us, challenge us! And occasionally, just occasionally, annoy us, for we do not pretend to be saints and know it all,” said Ramaphosa according to the Sunday Independent

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“Confront us about service delivery failures. Condemn us when children die of contaminated water. Expose us when we abuse state resources,” he continued. 

In Swaziland, respected editor of The Nation magazine Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko have spent almost 100 days in jail — while their various court cases play out — on criminal contempt of court charges after writing opinion pieces about the nation’s judiciary. Their trial, in the main contempt case, continues tomorrow morning at Swaziland’s high court. 

Media freedom around the world continues to come under threat, undoing years of progress. According to US-based advocacy body Freedom House, in 2014 only 1 in 7 people on the planet live in a country with a free press.

To read more about the dwindling state of global media freedom, click here

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