See also:
» 10.12.2009 - Couple charged with human trafficking for exploiting Swaziland woman
» 09.09.2009 - Swaziland media urged to speed up self-regulation process
» 23.07.2009 - Harsh sentence for abusive Swazi lover
» 03.06.2009 - Swazi human rights lawyer arrested
» 19.11.2008 - "Swaziland is now officially a military state"
» 19.09.2008 - Swaziland parliamentary elections kick off
» 18.09.2008 - Swazi police arrest protesters
» 03.04.2008 - Exiled Swazi hero murdered

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Society | Media

Swaziland to get broadcasting bill

afrol News, 12 March - The government of Swaziland has launched a bill to regulate the broadcasting sector in the country. Once the bill becomes law, a new commission will among other things, issue licences to TV and radio broadcasters, which could open up for private broadcast media in the kingdom.

The Swaziland Communications Commission Draft Bill provides for a six-member commission that includes the Chief Executive Officer to carry out the functions of the commission. The members are all appointed by the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), according to the bill.

The bill, which also seeks to revoke the regulatory powers and functions of the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications (SPTC) Act of 1980 which regulates radio broadcasting and the Swaziland Television Authority Act of 1983 which regulates television broadcasting, has already been published by the ICT Ministry for public scrutiny. However, it is not clear as to when will the bill be submitted to Parliament for debate.

The Swaziland broadcasting bill has been pending since 2007, when it was first drafted by government and introduced to stakeholders and the public. It later stalled halfway through stakeholder consultations.

The government currently dominates the airwaves in Swaziland. Commercial and community radio broadcasters have applied, but in vain for licences under the current legislative framework. It is hoped the new framework will ease the licensing processes.

The bill however foresees a total licensing control by the Information Ministry. The Ministry is known to severely restrict press freedom in the kingdom.

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