Free­dom of ex­pres­sion a con­sti­tu­tional right - Vuy­isile

Observer on Saturday - - News -

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.

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