Bheki Makhubu, editor of The Nation magazine in Swaziland, has been imprisoned since March 2014 because of an opinion article he wrote criticizing the judiciary in the southern African kingdom. The article, which exposed a clear violation of rule of law, infuriated Swaziland’s Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi, who ordered the arrest of Makhubu as well as the author of an article by Nation columnist and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko. Makhubu and Maseko were later sentenced to two years imprisonment for contempt of court. The Nation magazine and its publishing company were fined E100,000 ($US10,000).
On 17 August 2014, Fikile Makhubu, wife of Bheki, spoke to Bill Snaddon from the Media Institute of Southern Africa about the trial, conviction and imprisonment and what it means for Swaziland and its media. This short clip was shown to a group of editors and journalists who had gathered at a Freedom House event in Johannesburg, South Africa to learn more about the tenuous state of free speech in Swaziland. The clip was subsequently aired on South Africa’s national broadcaster SABC.
Featured image: @BhekiMakhubu