Swaziland police prevent foreign TV coverage
Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 15-04-2012
Two South African journalists working for e.tv have been told they cannot report in Swaziland without government permission, while armed forces continue to quash pro-democracy demonstrations in the kingdom.
Reporter Tumaole Mohlaodi and cameraman Meshack Dube were planning to cover the protests in Swaziland when they were arrested at the Oshoek border post between South Africa and Swaziland.
The men were escorted on 11 April to Mbabane, the Swazi capital, where their equipment was confiscated.
"They have been released and their equipment has been returned. They were ordered not to report anything out of Swaziland without a permit," Andy Duffy, e.tv spokesman said afterwards.
He said they would now remain in Swaziland, pending the outcome of their accreditation application.
Journalists have reported a strong police presence on the streets of Mbabane, along with heavily armed soldiers. They were described as 'brutal' and interrogated, threatened, intimidated and insulted the growing number of people who have been detained in relation to last week's thwarted demonstrations, according to Swazi Media Commentary.
The Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has ordered a ban on all protests, which police say are a threat to national security.
"We demand freedom of expression and the right for journalists to freely cover the events in Swaziland, so that the world can know that the myth of a peaceful country, unquestioningly accepting royal autocracy in the name of Swazi culture, is a fallacy and lie," said the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) coalition.
Impoverished Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, who has a personal fortune of over US$100 million, according to Forbes magazine.