MISA’s mandate requires us to work for a free, independent and diverse media sector. At the moment, in Swaziland, the media is far from free, independent and diverse. There is much work to do. Advocacy, therefore, is central to our existence.
MISA-Swaziland’s advocacy officer, Phakama Shili, leads the advocacy program, and works to build coalitions of people and organisations who will support MISA’s vision for a free media.
There are many laws in Swaziland that restrict media freedom, such as the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008, which stifles free speech and freedom of association. Click here for more information on MISA-Swaziland’s law reform work.
A recent example of our advocacy work centred on the sentence imposed on Swazi editor Bheki Makhubu, who was ordered to pay E200,000 ($US21,000) or else go to jail for two years for writing two articles about the judiciary. In building support for Makhubu, MISA-Swaziland feels it is also building support for everyone who is now at risk of being fined or thrown in jail for making a legitamate comment in the public interest. MISA is driving a petition which aims to raise awareness of the fragile state of Swazi media.