MBABANE: Evidence suggesting that the Times of eSwatini is captured has been displayed in the front page of its today’s edition after a censored ‘Mswati must Fall’ picture by protesters was published.
This confirms a long-standing allegation that the publication was now captured by the State after its Managing Editor Martin Dlamini was secretly employed as Deputy Specialist Political Affairs in the King’s Office. This Swaziland News previously reported that the editor who also works as Speech Writer for the King was allegedly engaged to monitor the flow of information to the public in the interest of the absolute Monarch.
Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said the decision by the Times to censor the picture was a huge embarrassment for the newspaper.
“There’s nothing new with the censorship by the Times of Swaziland, it’s something that we have learned to live with. However, it’s the most embarrassing thing, you can’t censor a picture that does not belong to you. That picture was taken by ordinary activists and they started sharing it as the march was continuing yesterday. What the Times should have done, at least they shouldn’t have used that picture. They should have used the picture of the King if they love him so much. But what is good is that the message is loud and clear and it was well received by society” said the SSN Spokesperson.
Martin Dlamini, the Managing Editor of the Times of eSwatini did not respond to our questions when asked why the picture was censored. Royal insiders told this Swaziland News that Dlamini was within his royal duties to protect the Monarch in his capacity as the ‘King’s overseer’ in the media.
“The idea was that he would make sure nothing that might damage the reputable of the King is published in the Times and he is doing exactly what he is paid for by the King’s Office” said the insider.
But Wander Mkhonza, the Secretary of the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) wondered why the Times censor itself when it has the duty to report accurately.
“It is not the duty of the media to protect the authorities, there are people who are solely employed to do that. Why publish the photo in the first place if you are afraid to publish it as it was captured? The manner in which the media censor itself, it will come to a point where journalists would not take some pictures or literally run away from developing stories” he said.
Phesheya Dube, the Director of Media in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) did not respond to our questions. He was asked whether it was proper for journalists to censor information in this matter.
The original and the censored Times picture