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First US-Africa summit short on press freedom, other human rights

CPJ board member Clarence Page, right, speaks  at a panel Wednesday organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in partnership with CPJ in Washington, D.C. (CPJ/Rachael Levy)

Top African and U.S. leaders are meeting next week in Washington in a first-of-its-kind summit focused on African development. But critics argue the summit is flawed in design, overlooking human rights such as freedom of expression and barring civil society actors from bilateral discussions.

Alerts   |   Swaziland

CPJ condemns Swaziland editor's prison sentence

Cape Town, July 25, 2014--CPJ is appalled by the two-year prison sentence, without the option of a fine, imposed today on editor of The Nation Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko by the Swaziland High Court in Mbabane. The pair was convicted on contempt of court charges on July 17, in connection with separate articles each wrote in the independent newsmagazine criticizing the kingdom's chief justice, Michael Ramodibedi.

Alerts   |   Swaziland

Editor and lawyer convicted of contempt of court in Swaziland

Bheki Makhubu, editor of The Nation, is seen in court in March. Makhubu was convicted today on contempt of court charges. (AFP/Debra Khumalo)

Cape Town, South Africa, July 17, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's convictions for contempt of court of an editor and lawyer in Swaziland.

Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland editor, lawyer re-arrested after release from jail

The Times of Swaziland's front page features the arrests of the editor and lawyer. (MISA Swaziland)

New York, April 10, 2014--Swaziland police on Wednesday re-arrested veteran editor Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko three days after they had been released from prison, according to news reports. The two, who were first jailed on March 18 and held until Sunday, had written articles that criticized Swaziland's chief justice, the reports said.

On Wednesday, High Court Judge Mpendulo Simelane issued new arrest warrants for Makhubu, editor of the independent newsmagazine The Nation, and Maseko, alleging that the two had failed to heed an April 1 court order to appear before him, the state-run Swazi Observer reported. Makhubu and Maseko appeared at the High Court in the capital, Mbabane, today, and were sent back to prison pending a court date on April 14, according to the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, a regional human rights group.

Alerts   |   Swaziland

In Swaziland, two held on contempt of court charges

Cape Town, March 19, 2014--Authorities in Swaziland should immediately release Bheki Makhubu, editor of the independent newsmagazine The Nation, and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer, who were imprisoned earlier this week in connection with articles published in The Nation, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Attacks on the Press   |   Swaziland

Attacks on the Press in 2013: Swaziland

Dubbed "the world's last absolute monarchy," the tiny, land-locked country teetered on the brink of bankruptcy while King Mswati III maintained tight control of news media and opposition voices. The king owned one of the two daily newspapers and employed the editor of the other as an adviser. Radio and television were also controlled by the state. Though Swazis readily accessed South African radio and television, South African newspapers entering Swaziland were carefully screened by authorities: If deemed critical of the king or government, all copies were purchased and destroyed. Self-censorship prevailed in the kingdom, where political parties are banned and critical voices within civil society and the media were silenced through legal or professional repercussions. Few dared challenge the government; the boards of state-owned companies such as the Swazi Observer Newspaper group kept their editors in check and, in turn, editors ensured that their reporters toed the line. A court sentenced the editor of the independent paper The Nation to a harsh fine in connection with his critical articles. He appealed to the Supreme Court and was free pending the appeal. In a positive development, parliament passed bills allowing for the creation of diverse TV and radio services, including community radio, and a commission to regulate broadcasting.

February 12, 2014 2:03 AM ET

Blog   |   Swaziland

Bheki Makhubu raises freedom flag in Swaziland

After high school, Bhekitemba Makhubu's father wanted him to study for a law degree. He refused, insisting on following in his father's footsteps as a journalist. Now, aged 43, he doesn't regret his choice, but besides his job as editor of the privately owned monthly magazine, The Nation, he is also studying for a law degree. On April 17, the Swaziland high court sentenced Bheki Makhubu, to two years imprisonment or a fine of US$20,000 for comments published in The Nation about the head of the country's supreme court. On a recent visit to Cape Town he spoke to CPJ about Swaziland's media environment, what motivates him, and the upcoming election. The interview has been edited for length.

May 31, 2013 10:30 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland must overturn editor's 2-year sentence, fine

New York, April 23, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Swaziland's appeals court to overturn last week's conviction of an editor for "contempt by scandalizing the court" in relation to two articles criticizing the country's chief justice.

April 23, 2013 5:01 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland security forces target journalists

New York, April 12, 2011--Authorities in the kingdom of Swaziland should allow the news media to report freely on anti-government protests, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today after security forces harassed at least 10 local and international journalists covering a mass demonstration demanding political and economic reform after more than two decades of rule by  King Mswati III.

April 12, 2011 4:37 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Swaziland

Swaziland prime minister threatens to censor columnists

New York, October 22, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a recent statement from Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, announcing his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government.

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