Case   |   Malawi

Journalists detained overnight, charged with criminal libel

May 8, 2006

Rob Jamieson, The Chronicle
Arnold Mlelemba, The Chronicle
Dickson Kashoti, The Chronicle

HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION

Three journalists working for the private weekly newspaper The Chronicle were detained and charged with criminal libel in connection with an article alleging that Malawi’s then-attorney general was involved in the theft of a computer. Attorney General Ralph Kasambara brought a police complaint against The Chronicle after the report was published, according to the local chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA).

Chronicle Editor-in-Chief Rob Jamieson, reporter Arnold Mlelemba, and sub-editor Dickson Kashoti were released on May 9. A trial was not immediately scheduled.

The article in The Chronicle quoted MISA-Malawi’s national director, Charles Simango, as saying that Kasambara had given him the computer and instructed him to sell it. Simango wrote to The Chronicle demanding a correction, which the newspaper published, saying that he had never implicated Kasambara in the computer’s theft, MISA reported.

MISA launched an investigation into the incident and suspended Simango following the article’s publication, the acting national director, Innocent Chitosi, told CPJ. Kasambara later stepped down, reportedly for other reasons.


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