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Government threatens new publications with closure

(MISA/IFEX) - At least two publications which recently came into the Swazi media scene have been threatened with closure for failure to register with government. By law, all publications in Swaziland, including newspapers and magazines, are required to register with the government. Registration is accompanied by a bond of US$100.

One of the publications, CAP Magazine, a business publication established last year, says it was approached by the office of the Director of Information - also the Registrar of newspapers under the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology - to produce a registration licence or face closure.

The magazine editor, Sbongiseni Mamba, said they were shaken by the threat.

Mamba confirmed that their magazine is not registered as required by the Books and Newspaper Act 1963 and said this was because they were not aware of this legal requirement. He said now that they are they will promptly register to pre-empt the government threat.

"Though we might have erred, we were not happy with the way the government issued its threat to close us down. It was as if the officer was not pleased by our mere existence. We felt there was more to the threat that the mere fact that we were not registered," Mamba told MISA Swaziland.

He said they would try to comply as soon as possible to ensure that the publication can continue to operate.

Another new publication, Mbambambamba newspaper, published in the vernacular and launched only last month, has also reportedly been pressured to register or face closure. Management of the newspaper has attempted to comply to avoid being closed down.

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