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Human Rights Journalists condemn persecution of independent media practitioners in eSwatini and Zimbabwe

Friday, 7th August, 2020

MBABANE: Queen Mosarwe, the Secretary General of the newly formed Human Rights Journalists for Southern Africa (HRJSA) has condemned the persecution of journalists in Eswatini and Zimbabwe.

HRJSA is an organisation that was formed by independent journalists in the SADC region with the core objectives of promoting basic human rights that include among others, access to information and or enhancing investigative journalism on human rights violations in the region.

Speaking during an interview with this Swaziland News, the HRJSA Secretary General who is based in Botswana said as an organisation they are closely following the situation affecting their colleagues in both countries adding that journalists should be allowed to do their work without any intimidation.

“We strongly condemn all acts of persecution and all threats directed to our colleagues in both Eswatini and Zimbabwe. What is happening is not only stifling the voice of the journalists but also the voice of the voiceless. Journalists are human rights defenders, as you stifle the voice of the journalist, you are stifling the voice of the voiceless who cannot speak for themselves. We are appealing that journalists be allowed to work without any fear and persecution", said the Secretary General.

The sentiments from the Human Rights Journalists' organisation comes after Hopewell Chinono, a Zimbabwean top investigative journalists was denied bail, he was accused of inciting violence and or attempting to overthrow the government.

In Eswatini, independent journalists were forced into exile for writing articles that were critical of the monarch. Early in March, Swaziland News editor Zweli Martin Dlamini was forced into exile after writing a series of articles that criticised the monarch. In one of his articles “The King's speech, a lie from the throne" he wrote that the king's speech in parliament was full of propaganda that sought to mislead the Nation regarding the social, economic and political situation in the country. The editor was forced to flee the country after a warrant of arrest was issued against him. Police harassed his wife and his two kids asking for the whereabouts.

A month later, the blood thirsty Eswatini police pounced on another independent journalist, Eugene Dube for writing articles that were critical of the King. He was tortured at the Nhlangano Police station and also forced to flee the country to the neighbouring South Africa fearing for his life.


 

Human Rights Journalists condemn persecution of independent media practitioners in eSwatini and Zimbabwe
Hopewell Chinono was denied bail in Zimbabwe (pic: Samuel Takawira)