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Journalist harassed, detained by police

(MISA/IFEX) - On 6 September 2010, a journalist with the privately-owned "Times" newspaper of Swaziland, Manqoba Nxumalo, was harassed and detained by police while covering a meeting organized by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) in Manzini, Swaziland's second-largest city.

A report in "The Times" newspaper said the journalist had his camera confiscated and was taken by police van to the Manzini police station, where he was briefly detained.

As the police could not lay any charges on the journalist, he was later released after the intervention of his managing editor, Mbongeni Mbingo. The police claimed the journalist was "at the wrong place at the wrong time".

In its report, "The Times" newspaper condemned the arrest of the journalist with Mbingo saying the paper was "disappointed" at the manner in which the police treated the journalist.

"We seriously view this as harassment and even though the police later cooperated in releasing the journalist they should not have harassed or detained him in the first place, especially because Manqoba did identify himself to the officers. But they went on to grab the reporter's camera, threatening to delete the pictures he had taken of the meeting. We will, therefore, request that the police respect journalists as they go about their duty and stop abusing their positions," Mbingo said.

MISA-Swaziland joins "The Times" newspaper in condemning the police action and calls on police authorities to publicly reprimand the officers who harassed and detained the journalist.

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