The State has control over the two national broadcasters, Swazi TV and SBIS (radio). The playing field is still not level as there are no community radio stations neither are there privately owned radio stations save for the Christian radio station, the Voice of the Church which is a franchise of Transworld Radio.
One of the major hindrances regarding progress in many a sector in the Kingdom is that the political leaders are not at liberty to take decisions. Even implementation seems hard to come by due to fear that they could trample on the toes of their masters. This is one of the reasons that could be attributed to the delay in the implementation of the Information and Media Policy which would eventually pave the way for the liberalisation of the airwaves and the transformation of the state broadcasters into public service
Worthy of note is that the ministry of public service and information lacks capacity on media policy matters. This is a one factor that is hampering progress. The ministry needs a pragmatist to advise on media related issues. Without the required expertise the ministry is unlikely to come up with sound decisions on the necessary steps to take regarding numerous issues such as the transformation of the state broadcasters into public service entities.
There is a lot of ignorance when it comes to matters regarding the media in the country. Citizens do not have the necessary information on what the media are all about and how they function.
By Dr Maxwell Mthembu, for MISA-Swaziland