Swaziland: Users bypass censored media with Social Media

Digital Content

Social MediaTech savvy individuals have turned to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter in order to access news that is not censored or governed in any way.

Individuals also utilise the service in order to bypass mainstream media which includes: television, radio and newspapers. This is according to a report jointly published by the Media Institute of Southern Africa and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

With the media being state controlled, media based in Swaziland can be heavily censored. The report called “Youth Usage of Social Media in Swaziland” has claimed that, “The young people have welcomed the emergence of social media because, among others, it affords them an opportunity not only to interact, but also enjoy the fundamental right to freedom of expression provided in Section 24 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland adopted in 2005.”

“Much to the delight of the young social media users, social media has changed the face of the media landscape by making information sharing ‘easier, faster and quicker. They can now easily and freely bypass the severely censored mainstream media to access, produce, distribute and exchange information and ideas. More importantly, the social media has afforded the young people an opportunity to speak in their own voices, not mediated by the mainstream media.”

The research surveyed 100 people aged between 10 and 24 years old in all four regions of Swaziland. It found the most popular social media sites were Facebook, Whatsapp and Mxit.

Social media is used now days in not just a personal capacity, by everyday individuals, but also as an outlet for news publications, businesses, and even retail and take-away stores. The vast amount of news sources grows by the day, which means that any user can select what news or articles they would like to see, no matter their location.