| JULY 18, 2004|
Posted: August 16, 2004
Timothy Simelane, The Swazi Observer
Thulani Ndwadwe, The Swazi Observer
Simelane and Ndwadwe, a journalist and photographer at the official daily Swazi Observer, were harassed at a memorial service for a deceased local ruler known as Prince Maguga in Macetsheni, an area in central Swaziland.
According to local sources, the journalists were covering the service when Dibanisa Mavuso, a former governor, stopped them and confiscated Ndwadwe's digital camera and memory card. Attendees of the service and members of the traditional royal guard then questioned the journalists for two hours. According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Mavuso accused the journalists of writing negative reports about Prince Maguga. Maguga, a brother of Swaziland's absolute monarch King Mswati III, was appointed chief of Kamkhweli and Macetsheni areas in 1999.
CPJ sources said that the Swazi Observer had reported on Maguga's appointment as chief, which occurred after the king ordered the expulsion of two traditional chiefs from Macetsheni and Kamkhweli. About 100 local residents who protested the expulsion were also evicted, according to Agence France-Presse.
A source at the newspaper told CPJ that the camera and memory card had not been returned, and that the paper had lodged a formal complaint.