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Businessman seeks closure of newspaper in defamation claim

(MISA/IFEX) - 28 June 2011 - A Swazi businessman has gone to court to seek the closure of a newspaper he claims has featured defamatory articles about him.

The businessman, Boyce Magongo, wants the High Court to issue an order directing the "Swazi Mirror", a two-year-old, privately-owned newspaper, to stop publishing and distributing its copies until they are in compliance with the provisions of the Books and Newspaper Act, 1963.

According to a newspaper report by the "Times of Swaziland", Magongo alleges in court papers that the "Swazi Mirror" wrote defamatory articles against him and other members of the public. He further claims that the "Swazi Mirror" does not print the name and address of its printer and publisher, in complete violation of the Books and Newspaper Act.

Magongo wants the court to order the forfeiture of all copies of the "Swazi Mirror" circulating in Swaziland and found not in compliance with the Act.

"An investigation of the authenticity of the respondents' legal operations in Swaziland proved overwhelmingly that they are in contravention of the Books and Newspaper Act, Section 16, which guides and regulates newspapers in Swaziland," Magongo is quoted to have said in his court papers. He also wants the court to direct the newspaper to produce the qualifications of its journalists.

The High Court has referred the case to the Registrar of the High Court to take the normal course for arguments.

The "Swazi Mirror" is currently in court fighting another censorship battle to overturn an order to stop the publication of an article implicating a local lawyer in an alleged crime.

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