The ministry responsible for policy and legislative development, licencing and regulation of the telecommunication and media sectors, said it was horrified at the extent to which ‘freedom of expression’ could be construed to have no professional boundaries or limitations.
According to a press release issued by Principal Secretary Sikelela Dlamini, while the ministry continues to support the necessary informational and educative role played by the media, it however wishes to remind all practitioners that professional rights end where the rights of others begin.
“The recent blatant publication of indecent photography of one of our female citizens, who equally enjoys protective constitutional provisions, has generated a wide public outcry focusing on the possible abuse of the freedom of expression while questioning the professional discretion of certain establishments within the local press corps,” he said.
Dlamini said the constitution protected Swazis from inhuman or degrading treatment and further conferred respect for rights of the family, women and children. The ministry further appealed to editors and other internal media regulators to enhance and enforce their sense of judgement as they have in the past with special reference to Article 5 of their code entitled ‘respect for privacy and human dignity’.
The principal secretary also said government had continued to engage the media regarding plausible and effective self regulatory measures as a means to protect citizens from abuse possibilities.
Following the picture of the nude diplomat, whose former boyfriend posted on social networks, the Times Sunday ran the story and further published the naked woman’s picture with her breasts, private parts and face blurred.
This has raised criticism from concerned readers and government, which has called for the publication to issue an apology.
University of Swaziland Journalism Lecturer Maxwell Mthembu and Swaziland Consumers Association Chairman Bongani Mdluli on Tuesday called for the publication to issue an apology.