SADC Media Law - A Handbook for Media Practitioners: Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana

Volume 2

Also available in Deutsch

After analyzing the media laws in Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Southafrica KAS now published volume 2 of the Handbook series "SADC Media Law". The book provides insight into the working conditions of journalists in Botswana, Sambia and Swaziland, providing reporters as well as lawyers or media managers with deep insights into the acutal legal situation of media practitioners in the respective countries.

The second book in a series on media law in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been released by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Media Programme and the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

"SADC Media Law: A handbook for Media Practitioners" reflects on the conditions of working journalists and the laws and court cases that impact on media freedom and ownership in Botswana, the Kingdom of Swaziland and Zambia. The handbook will be distributed free of charge to journalists’ and editors’ associations, media teaching departments and MISA offices in the three target countries.

Head of the KAS Media programme for sub-Saharan Africa, Gaby Neujahr, said the new book offered journalists insight into the law-framework in which they work. 

“Another benefit is that they learn more about the real working conditions of their colleagues in the neighbouring countries,” she said. “Activists could use the book as a reference when it comes to the situation of media-freedom in SADC, and media-entrepreneurs and owners get an insight into the legal situation of media in foreign markets.” 

Written and researched by the Mandela Institute of the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, the handbook is an accessible reference source.  It compares media-related laws and the right to freedom of expression of the mass media with the lived experiences of African journalists who were interviewed for this book.

This volume follows the release of last year’s media law guide (Volume 1) for media practioners from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Namibia. Several journalism and media studies departments have already requested the book for teaching purposes.

Some of the findings of the new book are:

- Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia’s print media are still dominated by government-owned newspapers which hamper market entry for the independent  commercial press;

- State broadcasters are the leading source of news, while growth in commercial and community radio has been limited for a range of reasons;

- Government interference in the media varies from blatant tactics like withdrawing advertising to more subtle methods;

- Politicians abuse cultural values as a convenient excuse to deflect media criticism;

-Laws enacting the right of access to information have yet to be adopted and government communication is regarded as poor;

- At one time or another, all three governments have attempted to impose statutory regulation, accreditation and control of the print media. Unlike the case of Zimbabwe they have all failed.

-Most journalists in the target countries have no formal media education or training;

-No protection is available in law for journalists to prevent the disclosure of confidential sources of information.

This book featured here in Adobe Acrobat format is available in hard copy on request from the KAS Media Programme. Copyright vests in the authors of the works and/or Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Use of any part of these works must be attributed to the authors. Hard copies of the books can be posted to you based on the cost of postage and handling. Please e-mail Jude Mathurine for more information.


Republic of South Africa, January 20, 2005