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Another Defamation Case Against A Media House In Eswatini
Today, I leant with dismay that Swazi Observer (one of the biggest publication in the country) is being sued E2 Million by one of the 11th parliament Parliamentarian. According to a report on today’s Swazi News, this is due to articles that were published by the Observer on Sunday on the 4th of November.
According to the report, the parliamentarian believes that the articles were published wrongfully, recklessly and internationally with the sole intention of injuring his reputation in the minds of the public’s especially those who read the publication.
“……. alleged that the articles were allegedly wrongful and defamatory of him, in that they were intended and understood by readers of the newspaper that he was dishonest, morally inept and irresponsible in the following aspect: despite being a married man, the plaintiff pries innocent underage girls and engages in intimate and extra-marital relationship with them, holds young girl hostage and or against their will, exposes children to danger in a very reckless manner, lies so as to conceal true events from surfacing in order to defeat any intended investigations into the matter and for purposes of exonerating himself, he portrays himself as a religiously up-right individual and claim to be holy when he is not and was an individual devoid of any remorse whenever wrong but always seeking to embellish an exculpate himself” reads the report on the Swazi News.
I understand that this is a matter that is yet to be tested in court which is why I will not dwell much on whether the articles were defamatory or not. That being said, I believe I can fly my comments on this matter as after all I was guaranteed the freedom of expression and opinion by our constitution.
I personally think that it is bad enough when the media is turned into ATMs by prominent people but is worse when such is being done by the Members of Parliament especially the ones we elected to parliament. These are the same people who should be protecting the media so that they can keep on being the watchdog of the public. The high level of defamation cases leads to high level of self-censorship to the reporters.
If only I could get a chance to speak sense to this Member of Parliament, I would advise that he withdraw this case as our court are currently overwhelmed with cases of which some of them are of serious magnitude. If I didn’t knew better, I would say this defamation case by this Member of Parliament is designed to intimidate journalist from doing their jobs, which is informing the public about stories of interest. I understand that he is perusing the matter as a singer and a pastor but at the moment, it is somehow difficult to separate him from the Member of Parliament role.