Swaziland: King's Paper Backs Radio Censorship

Photo: James Oatway/OXFAM
A damaged radio: In Swaziland broadcasting is state controlled.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, has backed the Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini's ban on MPs going on the radio.

Dlamini had banned MPs from the airwaves in Swaziland, where all but one radio station is state-controlled and the PM is editor-in-chief.

Dlamini said MPs could not go on air without the permission of their areas' chiefs. He said it was wrong for them to just go on radio with issues which the chiefs were not even aware of.

The Observer, in an editorial, backed the premier, saying, 'We don't care about the national radio ban he effected on them.'

In particular, the newspaper objected to MPs drawing attention to the development needs of their constituents. 'MPs are in Parliament to make laws and not to play small time development officers,' it said.

It went on to say it did not want to hear the MPs talking about people's needs like burials, school fees and elderly grants.

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