'TIMES SUNDAY' ENCOURAGES BLACKMAIL

From Swazi Media Commentary Thu Jan 31 2013, 06:06:00

The Times Sundaynewspaper in Swaziland has come under renewed criticism for its sensationalist journalism after it published a photograph of a blackmail victim and gave intimate details of her love life.

Under a headline 'The naked truth' it revealed that the former boyfriend of the woman had put nude pictures of her on Facebook and sent copies to her work colleagues and others who would know her.

The Times Sundaydid not name the woman but did name her ex-boyfriend and published a photograph of the couple with their arms around each other. Although the newspaper put a black strip across the woman's eyes she would be clearly identifiable to people who knew her and her ex-boyfriend. The newspaper also gave enough details of her place of work to make identification easy.

Vuyisile Hlatshwayo, national director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland chapter, in a statement to Swazi Media Commentary said, 'It is wrong and it is obscene. We have a constitution that should protect against this sort of thing. Article 18 speaks of "protection from inhuman or degrading treatment". In MISA's view, the publication of the photo is in direct violation of the Swaziland Constitution.'

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