Newspapers in Swaziland
Swaziland has only two newspapers, The Times of Swaziland (edition: about
18,000 copies) and Swaziland Observer (about 11,000 copies).
Radio and TV are essentially state-owned. The Swaziland Broadcasting and
Information Service (founded in 1966) broadcasts radio in a channel in
English and Siswati, while the Swaziland Television Authority (founded
in 1978) broadcasts in a channel in English. In Swaziland there is also
commercial radio and a Christian channel. There are 162 radio and 119 TV
receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).
The oldest cultural attractions in Swaziland
are rock paintings, probably done by members of the
indigenous people san and khoikhoi.
Swazi culture is similar to that of other Bantu
people: dances and songs are usually associated with
religious ceremonies that go far back in history.
Latest population statistics of Swaziland, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Swaziland's mass media is subject to
restrictions and reprisals on the part of the
authorities. From time to time, the authorities attack
repugnant journalists or make the publication of
inconvenient newspapers more difficult. Criticism
against the king and the royal house rarely occurs, and
the journalists impose self-censorship.
The country's two major newspapers are the formally
independent The Times of Swaziland and
Swazi Observer, published by the state.
The Swazi News is published once a week
and is owned by The Times of Swaziland. All newspapers
are in English. A couple of monthly magazines are also
published in the country.
Radio and television broadcasts are handled by two
state-owned companies: Swaziland Broadcasting
and Information Service (SBIS),
which broadcasts radio in English and Siswazi channels,
and Swaziland Television Authority,
which broadcasts TV in English in one channel. In
addition, there is the Christian, privately owned
channel Trans World Radio.
South African newspapers are sold around Swaziland,
and the Swazis also have access to South African radio
and TV. These are often critical of the Swazi regime.
Trade unions are dissolved
The government dissolves all trade unions in the country, including the
largest Tucoswa country organization.
New free trade agreement
Swaziland and 25 other countries have agreed on a new free trade agreement,
Tripartite Free Trade Area, which covers most of Africa, from Egypt in the north
to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can come into force,
negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the parliaments of
Journalists are sentenced to prison
The editor and the chronicler who was arrested in March 2014 are sentenced to
two years in prison for court proceedings.
Swaziland is excluded from trade cooperation
The United States excludes Swaziland from the trade cooperation Agoa (African
Growth Opportunity Act) which gives some 40 sub-Saharan countries favorable
conditions in the US market. The counterpart is that the countries must live up
to certain democratic requirements. Swaziland is not considered to have
fulfilled expectations due to the government's hard handling of demonstrations
and harassment of unions. For those working in the country's textile industry,
the development is disappointing. The terms of trade under Agoa have led to an
expansion of the textile industry and many new jobs.
The King's budget is raised
King Mswati III increases the court's budget by 10 percent to $ 61 million.
Opposition members prosecuted
The arrested Pudemo members are prosecuted for supporting a terrorist group
and for shouting slogans and wearing T-shirts with advertising for Pudemo. They
are then released free of bail pending trial. At the same time, Pudemo leader
Mario Masuki and the secretary general of Pudemo's youth union are arrested.
They are accused of criticizing the king and his government at a first May
meeting in Mbabane.
Unrest in trial
During the trial of the editor and the chronicler who has been in detention
since March (see March 2014), a handgun between police and
protesters outside the court arises and several members of Pudemo are arrested.
Newspaper employees are arrested
The editor of the country's largest newspaper The Nation is arrested, along
with a lawyer who usually contributes as a chronicler in the newspaper. The two
are charged with court-martial, after they questioned in the newspaper why a
vehicle inspector was detained for a week without prosecution being brought. The
inspector had stopped a government vehicle and noted that the driver was missing
the necessary documents.
Criticized airport opens
The King opens a new airport outside Mbabane. The idea is for the airport to
open the country to tourists and foreign businessmen. However, it will be a long
time before any planes can take off and land at the airport. First, a permit is
required to operate air traffic. The project has been criticized for devouring
excessive sums in the poor country.
Protests against the royal government
During a vigil in connection with the funeral of a democracy activist, around
2,000 participants protest against King Mswati III's rule. This is done by the
participants dressing in a certain way, displaying banners with regime-critical
messages and dancing toyi toyi, a dance used during the fight against apartheid
in South Africa.