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Policeman points gun at journalist documenting police brutality in Swaziland

A journalist in Swaziland has had a policeman point a gun at him. The incident took place on Saturday, 28 September 2013 in Gege, a southern town in which is near the Bothashoop border-crossing towards Piet Retief in South Africa.

According to the Times of Swaziland, one of its photojournalists Walter Dlamini, was doing his job – photographing police brutality during a protest – when an "officer pointed a shotgun at Dlamini's face and demanded why he [was taking] pictures of the officers who were at work".

Indications are that the protestors were not armed and were trying to deliver a petition to their local leader. Dlamini confirmed the incident to the Swaziland Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland).

"It wasn't necessary for the police to beat the protestors. I saw nothing wrong with the protestors."

Asked whether he thought the policeman was going to shoot him, the photojournalist replied: "I don't know, anything can happen."

The beating up of protestors – most of whom are unhappy with what they believe to be unfair and unfree elections held recently – and the intimidation of journalists, adds to the growing reality of police repression and muzzling of civil and media freedoms in the southern African kingdom, describe by King Mswati III as a “monarchical democracy”.

Concerned and worried by continued harassment of journalists by police, MISA-Swaziland together with the Swaziland Editors' Forum (SFE) on 30 September, met with national police commissioner, Isaac Magagula, to lodge a formal complaint.

The national police commissioner “unreservedly” apologised to the whole media fraternity and the affected journalists at the Times of Swaziland Group of Newspapers.

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