Sanef opposes Swazi media sentencing

2013-04-18 16:22

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Johannesburg - The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) objected on Thursday to the sentencing of Nation magazine editor Bheki Makhubu in Swaziland.

Makhubu was charged with "scandalising the court" and fined R200 000 or two years in jail, Sanef said in a statement.

Contempt of court charges were brought against him by Swaziland's Attorney General Majahe-Nkhaba Dlamini about two articles dealing with judges and the chief justice's attitude to the constitution.

"The use of contempt charges to silence legitimate scrutiny of judicial conduct and attitudes will do nothing to secure the dignity and credibility of Swaziland's courts," Sanef said.

"On the contrary, by seeking to enforce silence rather than to foster open debate, this judgment is more likely to engender doubt, criticism, and suspicion of Swaziland's courts than it is to create respect."

Sanef said it understood that Makhubu would appeal the verdict and sentence.

It urged the South African government and the African Union (AU) to "more vigorously" remind Swazi authorities of the importance of a free press and open democratic environment.

Read more on:    au  |  sanef  |  swaziland  |  johannesburg  |  media

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