MISA Swaziland and Swaziland Media Consortium consider the four consecutive cases of journalists’ harassment within such a short space of time as a warning that the worst is yet to come.
On 6 October 2018, two senior journalists from the Times of Swaziland Group of Newspapers were held hostage at the Qatar Embassy in Ezulwini Valley.
Charge d’ Affaires Yaqoub Yousuf Al Mulla, in his capacity as Acting Ambassador of Qatar, detained investigative journalist Welcome Dlamini and business editor, Kwanele Dhladhla at the Qatar Embassy.
After failing to coerce them to sign his prepared non-disclosure agreement, he intimidated them by saying that he was going to report the matter to the senior royal authorities.
We strongly condemn the detention of the two journalists by the diplomat while in their line duty.
We appeal to the Qatar envoy to desist from being disrespectful to our senior royal authorities.
Being emaSwati first before they are journalists, journalists cannot allow diplomats to bring the name of our royalty to disrepute in the land.
We, therefore, appeal to the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to take up this matter with the Qatar Ambassador to protect not only our journalists but also the good name of our royalty from members of the diplomatic corps found abusing the privilege of diplomatic immunity.
In the face of increased attacks on journalists, we are deeply concerned that even members of the diplomatic corps have now joined the assault on freedom of expression in the country.
Issued by MISA Swaziland
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