There is a long history of censorship of the media in Swaziland. Some of thiscensorship we know about because it has become public in some way. Butthere is suspicion that a lot of censorship is taking place that we do not knowabout.There have been unsubstantiated reports about the existence of censorship,be it imposed or self-censorship, in newsrooms in the kingdom. Journaliststhemselves, when defending themselves in various forums againstaccusations of sub-standard journalism and lack of investigative journalism inSwazi media, have often complained of censorship in newsrooms.The
African Media Barometer Swaziland
report published by MISA in 2007also highlights the fact that censorship may exist in newsrooms in Swaziland.
It states: ‘Self
-censorship is common across all media. There are four keyareas where the media exercise self-censorship: the monarchy and traditional
authorities, culture, media owners and advertisers.’
MISA’s vision is of a southern Afric
an region in which the media enjoyfreedom of expression independent from political, economic and commercialinterests and a region where members of society, individually or collectively,are free to express themselves through any media of their choice withouthindrance of any kind.In pursuit of this vision, MISA Swaziland seeks to advocate against any formof censorship in newsrooms in Swaziland. Therefore, the objectives of thisresearch are to:1. Establish if censorship exists in newsrooms;2. Establish the scale of censorship prevailing;3. Identify the forms of censorship prevailing and its possible causes.It is hoped that the findings of the research will help MISA Swaziland chapterto develop an effective strategy against any form of newsroom censorship.An interview format and questionnaire were used in the research. These hadtwo main objectives. One was to try to quantify how much (if any) censorshipwas taking place in the media and Swaziland. The other was more qualitative.If censorship existed the research wanted to be able to collect real examplesof what media practitioners identify as censorship.As a guide two definitions were given to respondents at the start of theinterview. These definitions were as follows.