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REGIONS:

JUDGE STRIKES DOWN BAN ON NEWSPAPER

A high court judge has struck down a government ban on “The Guardian of Swaziland,” allowing the weekly newspaper to resume publishing after a four-month period of inactivity, reports the Media Institute of Southern African (MISA) and Reporters sans frontièrès (RSF). On 31 August, High Court Judge J Annandale declared invalid the 4 May ban by the Minister for Public Service and Information, Mntonzima Dlamini.

In declaring the ban, Dlamini had invoked a section of the Proscribed Publications Act of 1968, which grants the minister extraordinary powers to “ban or suspend publications that do not conform with Swazi morality and ideals.” MISA notes that the ruling does not give the newspaper’s owner the right to take back the newspapers that were confiscated earlier as a result of the ban.

In July, in response to worldwide protests, King Mswati III repealed a decree which gave the minister the right to shut down publications without providing any reasons, legal or otherwise. [Updates IFEX Communiques #10-30 and #10-26]. For more information, see www.misa.org and www.rsf.fr


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