Soldiers and police officers are seen on the Eswatini side of the country's border with South Africa on July 1, 2021. CPJ recently joined a call for Eswatini's king to ensure journalists' safety. (AFP)

CPJ joins letter urging Eswatini King Mswati III to guarantee journalists’ safety

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 20 other media freedom organizations in an open letter to Eswatini King Mswati III, urging him to guarantee the safety and security of journalists and media workers in the country.

Since late June, Eswatini authorities have fired tear gas at reporters and partially shut down the internet amid pro-democracy protests in the country, the letter states. Authorities also detained at least two South Africa journalists with the news website New Frame, whom officers allegedly abused in custody, according to news reports.

The letter states that its signatories are “gravely concerned with the excessively inhumane and largely unreasonable responses by Eswatini security forces in dealing with media workers,” and called on authorities to allow the press to work freely and “without any harassment, assaults, threats or reprisals for doing their work.”

The letter can be read here.