Freedom of the Press

Swaziland

Swaziland

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

77

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

26

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

25

Freedom of the press is seriously restricted particularly on matters relating to political issues or the king and the royal family. The government monopolizes broadcast media, but print media from South Africa are available. Two independent newspapers were shut down twice in less than a month. In June, the king decreed the expansion of his power to ban local publications. A month later, the king repealed the state of emergency decree under which the press was targeted. One newspaper, The Guardian, banned four months earlier, resumed publication. In November, the state police warned three local journalists who were freelancing for international press associations that they should stop writing negatively about the country and the king in particular. The Senate House in the parliament endorsed recommendations to fine journalists about $1,000 if they write or misquote issues raised in the legislature. One editor was fined. Police stormed the offices of the trade union federation and assaulted journalists attending a press conference. The police superintendent told a correspondent for overseas news agencies, "I swear I will get rid of you. You are a problem for the police." The editor of the Swazi Observer was shot to death by unknown assailants.