The Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, has censored its own report on international media coverage of the mass protest on Friday (18 March 2011) that called on the government to resign.
It reported today that the protest attracted journalists from all over the world, including the US, France, Germany and the UK.
It then gave some examples of what the media said.
But – this is Swaziland after all – it censored the coverage. And, admitted it.
‘Comments deemed insensitive have been edited,’ the Times Sunday said.
Readers of this blog and the Internet generally will be very aware that the international media coverage has been highly critical of Swaziland’s King Mswati III, who is also sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
I doubt if there was a single report that didn’t point out that the king was rich, while he’s subjects lived in abject poverty.
Here are some extracts from reports the Times Sunday doesn’t want the people of Swaziland to read.
The impoverished kingdom is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to cut its wage bill if Swaziland is to qualify for much-needed international loans. King Mswati, Southern Africa’s last absolute monarch, is criticised for his lavish spending on luxury cars and palaces for his 13 wives. – AFP news agency
The austerity budget has galvanized an anti-monarchy movement in the southern African country of about 1 million led by King Mswati III. Some protesters on Friday carried signs saying: "We want political reforms" and "tyrants must fall." – Canadian Press
"Swaziland cannot remain an island of dictatorship in the sea of democracy," Mario Masuku head of the banned opposition People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) told the crowd, reports the AP news agency. "Royalty has squandered the economy... We want a government by the people," he said. – BBC
Unemployment in the nation of 1.4 million people is about 40 percent, with 70 percent of the population living below the national poverty line. In contrast, King Mswati III -- who has 14 wives -- has a personal fortune of $200 million, according to Forbes magazine. – Reuters news agency
Mswati has a personal fortune of $200 million, New York’s Forbes Magazine said on its website. The nation’s gross domestic product was $3 billion in 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund. He holds stakes in most major businesses, including a venture with Illovo Sugar Ltd., Africa’s biggest producer of the sweetener, and Swaziland’s only mobile phone services provider, the local unit of Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd. Mswati’s allocation of 210 million emalangeni in this year’s budget is nearly as much as the government spends on medicines, including anti-AIDS drugs. - Bloomsberg agency report