Alert / Media Alert

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association boots media from meeting on ‘parliament and the media’

MISA-Swaziland | Media Alert
September 4 2014

Local media in Swaziland has reported that The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) kicked out journalists from a post elections seminar that was being held yesterday in the town of Ezulweni.

Times of Swaziland, page 4, Sept 4 2014

Times of Swaziland, page 4, Sept 4 2014

The CPA is an organisation of British origin that works to support good governance, democracy and human rights.

According to daily newspaper the Times of Swaziland, a “Zambian Member of Parliament, identified as Muntanga, who was acting on behalf of Secretary General William Shija, had a belief that journalists tended to focus on certain elements and blow them out of proportion”.

The article continues: “Before the start of the seminar, [Muntanga] asked journalists to identify themselves, and instructed them to step aside so that the seminar could continue.

“Muntanga recalled an instance in his home country where journalists focused on a flippant statement that MPs wanted a salary raise.”

Swazi MPs in attendance were reportedly divided on whether to allow the journalists to stay or go. “I was not sure on what to do,” said one MP according to the article.

Some of the topics to be discussed in the seminar include ‘Parliament and the Media’ and ‘Parliament and Human Rights’, said the report.

Journalists are often harassed in Swaziland and the media is often blamed for causing division. On July 25 this year a respected Swazi editor, Bheki Makhubu, was sentenced to two years in jail for writing an opinion piece questioning the actions of controversial chief justice Michael Ramodibedi.

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