- The government of Swaziland has launched a bill to regulate the broadcasting sector in the country. Once the bill becomes law, a new commission will among other things, issue licences to TV and radio broadcasters, which could open up for private broadcast media in the kingdom.
The Swaziland Communications Commission Draft Bill provides for a six-member commission that includes the Chief Executive Officer to carry out the functions of the commission. The members are all appointed by the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT), according to the bill.
The bill, which also seeks to revoke the regulatory powers and functions of the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications (SPTC) Act of 1980 which regulates radio broadcasting and the Swaziland Television Authority Act of 1983 which regulates television broadcasting, has already been published by the ICT Ministry for public scrutiny. However, it is not clear as to when will the bill be submitted to Parliament for debate.
The Swaziland broadcasting bill has been pending since 2007, when it was first drafted by government and introduced to stakeholders and the public. It later stalled halfway through stakeholder consultations.
The government currently dominates the airwaves in Swaziland. Commercial and community radio broadcasters have applied, but in vain for licences under the current legislative framework. It is hoped the new framework will ease the licensing processes.
The bill however foresees a total licensing control by the Information Ministry. The Ministry is known to severely restrict press freedom in the kingdom.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.