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PRESS RELEASE

 

 

JANUARY 30th, 2013

MBABANE

 

“PICTURES OF NAKED SWAZI DIPLOMAT” (TIMES SUNDAY, 27/01/2013)

 

The Ministry of Information, Communications, and Technology, which is responsible for Policy and Legislative development, Licensing and Regulation of the Telecommunications and Media Sectors is horrified at the extent to which “Freedom of Expression” could be construed to have no professional boundaries or limitations.

The recent blatant publication of indecent photography of one of our female Citizens, who equally enjoys protective Constitutional provisions, has generated a wide public outcry focusing on the possible abuse of the “Freedom of Expression” while questioning the professional discretion of certain establishments, within the local press corps.

Chapter 3 of the Constitution protects Swazi Citizens from “inhuman or degrading treatment,” and further confers “respect for rights of the family, women, and children.”

The Preamble of the Code of Ethics as adopted by the Swaziland National Association of Journalists, clearly states that itsmembers must “adhere to highest ethical standards, professional competence and good behavior, in carrying out their duties.”

It further states that while “the public expects the media to play their watchdog role, they shall do this with a high sense of responsibility, without infringing on the rights of individuals and society in general.”

While we continue to support the necessary informational and educative role which the media plays, we wish to remind all practitioners that their professional rights end where the rights of others begin.

 

We further appeal to editors and other internal media regulators to enhance and enforce their fullest sense of judgement, as they have in the past, with special reference to Article 5 of their Code, entitled:RESPECT FOR PRIVACY AND HUMAN DIGNITY, which states that:

  1. “Journalists should respect the right of the individual, privacy and human dignity.”
  2. “Enquiries and intrusions into a person’s private life can only be justified when done in the public interest.”
  3. “A journalist should guard against defamation, libel, slander and obscenity.”

 

Government has continued to engage the media community regarding plausible and effective self-regulatory measures as a means to protect Citizens from the possibility of abuse. We have further encouraged that the Media Community educate the general population about their “Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.”

 

We once again remind the media of this crucial responsibility, and further request that they continue educating the public about the role of the Media Complaints Commission, its physical premises, and how citizens can access it.

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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