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Swazi paper gagged from reporting case

Staff Reporter

MBABANE — The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Swaziland has condemned the Judicial Services Commission’s gag order barring the Times of Swaziland from reporting details of the sexual harassment case against Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi.
The court injunction came after the Law Society of Swaziland filed a case alleging that Justice Ramodibedi, the chief justice, had sexually harassed five female colleagues.
Justice Ramodibedi is also the chairman of the JSC.
The paper was preparing to report the case when it received the court order.
Misa Swaziland director, Comfort Mabuza, said it was regrettable that the JSC could take such a position at this time.
Mabuza said because the country is going through a crisis it is important for the press to be allowed to inform the public without interference.
“It is sad that while the country is facing crises from numerous directions, the media is being prevented from sharing full information with the public,” Mabuza said.
He said it was even more regrettable that this is happening at a time when confidence in the judiciary is at its lowest ebb.
Mabuza said instead of working to restore that confidence the JSC was eroding it.
“We once gain call upon everyone to allow the media to exercise its role as enshrined in the Constitution,” Mabuza said.
Additional reporting by Times of Swaziland

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