Brian Kahn, the lawyer representing King Mswati and his Government allegedly approached Lecturers at the Rhodes University in South Africa seeking advice in the high profile case against editor Zweli Martin Dlamini and this Swaziland News.
But Journalism and Media Studies Lecturer Simon Pamphilon allegedly refused to offer any media advice to the King’s lawyers saying their client had a history of human rights violations.
This is contained in an email that was also shared with the South African National Editor’s Forum(SANEF) where the editors organization of that country emphasized on the importance of supporting this publication in the legal battle against the King and the eSwatini Government.
It is alleged that the King’s lawyers wanted some advice from Journalism Lecturers to describe what constitutes a newspaper and a journalist something that did not go down well with them immediately after the lawyers indicated that they are representing Mswati.
“Jeanne forwarded the email to me because I teach our 3rd-year Media Law and Ethics course, and I responded to Mr Kahn saying we weren’t prepared to assist him in this instance because of his client’s track record in human rights abuses and suppression of media freedom”, read an email sent by Simon Pamphilon, the Journalism Lecturer at the Rhodes University.
When contacted by this Swaziland News Lecturer Simon Pamphilon confirmed the email adding that he made it clear to Kahn that he couldn’t assist them.
“We made it clear that we can’t assist in providing advice because of his client’s
track record in human rights abuses. Actually, if we were to provide advice, we would offer it to you guys. I think this lawyer(Kahn) is somehow ignorant with regards to media law because after telling him we won’t assist them, he sent me a copy of the motion thinking that would change my mind. Look, we teach journalism and we always expect journalists to be impartial but that doesn’t mean they must not support democracy because journalism is about democracy” ,he said.
Efforts to reach lawyer Brian Kahn proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.
Reggie Moalusi, the SANEF Executive Director confirmed knowledge of the matter and assured the editor of this publication their full support.
Dlamini’s legal team in the matter include Senior Counsel Myron Dewyance, Advocate Martin Hugh, Advocate Karusha Pillay and lawyer Bukhosi Sibanda, the instructing attorney.
Apart from being the editor of this Swaziland News, Zweli Martin Dlamini who was once attached to AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in South Africa is a Contributor for the British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC), a part time writer for the Mail and Guardian and the Daily Maverick among others.
King Mswati and his Government took the Swaziland News and its editor to the High Court of South Africa over the ongoing critical articles, the King wants to be given seven(7) days before commenting on a story about him. He also wants the court to interdict the editor and this publication from publication anything about him, his Government, members of the royal family and public officials among others.
The lecturer demonstrated a high level of integrity as obviously the approach for assisstance was accompanied by enticing financial offers. He represented the university and South Africa well, demonstrating that trampling human rights will not and sholud not be tolarated.
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