Jointly with the Swaziland Media Consortium (SMC), MISA Swaziland strongly condemns the common violent conduct against media practitioners in line of duty.
Towards the end of September, Swazi Observer photojournalist, Mduduzi Mngomezulu was assaulted by members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) during their march to deliver a petition to the US Embassy Office.
They confiscated his camera preventing him from carrying out his duties. Times of Swaziland Sunday, Welcome Dlamini, was also attacked by Siphofaneni market vendors, thanks to the bus conductors who came to his rescue.
Claiming to be supporters of defeated Siphofaneni MP candidate, Gundvwane Gamedze, they blamed the media for his loss.
We are deeply concerned that it happened in the month of our commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information.
It is worrisome that the police officers at Siphofaneni Police Station preferred to act as peacemakers instead of law enforcers in a criminal matter.
We appeal to Police National Commissioner to stop the habit of running to the state-broadcaster to condone violent conduct perpetrated against journalists.
We implore him to act professionally (avutse bhe) by enforcing the law without fear or favour. None has been brought to book though assaulting journalists inside and outside their newsrooms is slowly becoming an order of the day.
Is the NatCom really waiting for one journalist to be killed before enforcing the law?
Safety and protection of journalists should be his top priority as a protector of all emaSwati because information poverty prevents the nation from participating meaningfully in the tinkhundla-based participatory democracy as well as forging ahead to attain the First World status.
Issued by MISA Swaziland
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