The new Swaziland constitution and its impact on media freedom

Richard Rooney


This paper examines media freedom in Swaziland since the kingdom's new constitution came into effect in 2006. Despite the constitution, Swaziland remains a non-democracy and there continues to be a restrictive media environment. The paper tackles three research questions: (i) How repressive were media laws in Swaziland before the constitution came into effect? (ii) What does the 2006 constitution say about media freedom? (iii) To what extent has the constitution improved media freedom? The paper relies on a qualitative analysis of the pre-existing media laws, the constitution itself, and a survey of media events since 2006. The paper concludes that there has been no discernible progress on media freedom in Swaziland and there is little reason to be optimistic in the near future that this will change.

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