Freedom of expression a constitutional right - Vuyisile
Lead researcher Vuyisile Hlatshwayo on the freedom of expression agrees that it is a basic right enshrined in the Swazi Constitution that explicitly protects the media as set out in subsections 24 (1) and (2) which state; 1 a person has a right to freedom of expression and opinion, 2 a person shall not except with the free consent of that person be hindered in the enjoyment of the freedom of expression which includes the freedom of the press and other media that is to say (a) Freedom to hold opinions without interference.
The constitution also allows the media to approach a body such as the Commission on Human Rights and Public Administration (CHRPA) to assist in the enforcement of the rights.
Hlatshwayo further said among other things, the CHRPA investigates complaints concerning allegedviolations of fundaments human rights and freedoms.
Hlatshwayo in his research further states that although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, the Swazi media environment is extremely difficult. Hlatshwayo made an example of the judgement in the case against the Nation Editor Bhekie Makhubu who stated that “no one has a right to attack a judge or the courts under the disguise of the right of freedom of expression. In as much as this is a right enshrined in the constitution, the constitution itself makes the right not absolute.
Hlatshwayo said the judge invoked Section 24(3) of the constitution, which contains an internal limitation on the general rights to freedom of expression and opinion contained in sub-sections 24 (1) and (2) and provides that refuge can be sought in the applicable legislation.