The Swazi Press and its contribution to good governance

Richard Charles Rooney


This paper audits the newspapers of Swaziland in the context of their abilities to encourage and foster good governance. Swaziland, a non-democracy with an ailing economy, severe poverty and the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world, is in crisis. Freedoms of the press, expression and association are restricted.
The paper sets out four research questions: (i) How pluralistic is media ownership? (ii) How independent are the media from government? (iii) How representative are the media of different opinions and how accessible are they to different sections of society, including poor and vulnerable groups and political parties? (iv) What are the capacities of Swazi journalists and where might there be areas for development?
The paper utilizes a content analysis of the editorial of the kingdom’s two daily newspapers identifying the main news agendas and also the sources of information that journalists rely on for their reports. In addition, contributions from journalistic practitioners give valuable insights into the realities of working in the media under restrictions.
The paper concludes that there is much still to be done in Swaziland before the news media can be said to be fully contributing to fostering and encouraging good governance in the kingdom.

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