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From Swazi Media Commentary:
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
‘TIMES‘ GAY HATE: CALL TO OMBUDSMAN
A formal complaint has been lodged against Swaziland’s Times Sunday and its writer Qalakaliboli Dlamini after the newspaper published an article encouraging hatred of gays.
The Times readers’ ombudsman has been asked to investigate a complaint that Dlamini broke the Swaziland National Association of Journalists’ code of ethics.
Prof Richard Rooney, former head of the department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Swaziland, has written to the ombudsman to ask for a formal investigation.
The ombudsman adjudicates on complaints readers have against articles published in the Times group of newspapers.
Rooney wrote, ‘The article contained a lengthy attack on homosexuals and included the phrase, “I hate homosexuality with every fibre of hair or flesh in my body.” Dlamini also wrote homosexuals performed “satanic deeds” and were an “abomination”.
‘Dlamini’s article contrives Article 13 of the Swaziland National Association of Journalists code of ethics which states, “Hate speech: ‘Journalists shall avoid by all means the publication of speech that might promote hatred, spite and conflict amongst the Swazi or any other nation.”
‘Hate speech is a type of speech or writing which can do any of the following: deliberately offend, degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on their race, ethnicity, profession, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. It can be aimed at an individual; or racial, ethnic, religious or other group. Such speech generally seeks to condemn or dehumanize the individual or group; or express anger, hatred, violence or contempt toward them.’
Already many readers have lodged complaints against the article on the Times’ website and the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations has asked Times Managing Editor Mbingo Mbongeni to take ‘positive action’ against Dlamini.
Swaziland: More Self-Censorship At ‘Times‘
9 May 2012
The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, has for the second day running censored itself in its reporting of King Mswati III.
Today (9 May 2012), the Times reports on a Gallup poll that asked Swazi people whether they approved of the King’s leadership.
According to the newspaper, the King ‘received a majority vote from the Swazi people’.
Today’s publication follows a report in the Times yesterday that the Swazi Government had received only 40 percent of Swazi approval in the same Gallup poll. The Times made no reference to the King’s poll rating in that report.
The Times was criticised yesterday by Swazi Media Commentary for censoring itself by not reporting the poll result for King Mswati, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Today, the Times responded with its report on the King’s rating.
But, although the report says the King received a ‘majority vote’ of his people, it does not give the figures.
That is because the King received only 56 percent approval – another 43 percent of the Swazis interviewed by Gallup disapproved of the King’s leadership.
The real story is not the number who approve of the King, but the 43 percent who disapprove.
In Swaziland, the mainstream media do not allow any criticism of the King. Instead they are likely to play up the importance of the King and report that his subjects unreservedly love him.
Also, the King has strict control over his subjects’ lives, especially the 75 percent who live in rural areas. Chiefs of areas are the King’s representative and they can decide who is able to live and work in the area. If you criticise the King, you upset the chief, and you can be sent into exile.
This means that when people have criticisms of the King, they keep them to themselves.
So, the fact that more than four in ten people are prepared to tell a Gallup pollster they disapprove of the King’s leadership is a significant development and might encourage others who have been too scared to voice their objection.
The Times newspaper knows this and that’s why it censored itself in the report.
USA: Chris Hedges | Homophobia Threatens to Turn Democracy Into a Fundamentalist Theocracy.
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: “The long-term unemployment, the collapse of housing prices, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the draconian cuts in social spending have created a climate in which the vulnerable, the different, the marginal – from Muslims to undocumented workers to homosexuals – are blamed for the nation’s decline, White argues. This climate is fueling a culture of hate”: here.