Penal Code

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Malawi amendment bans news 'not in public interest'

Mutharika (AFP)

New York, February 1, 2011--An amendment to Malawi's penal code, which became law last week, allows the government to ban any publication deemed contrary to public interest for an unspecified period of time, institutionalizing political censorship of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.  

On January 26, President Bingu wa Mutharika signed into law an amendment to Section 46 of the penal code that gives the information minister unchecked discretion to block a publication he or she deems against the "public interest," according to news reports and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). Previously, Section 46 only prohibited importation of publications considered seditious.

February 1, 2011 4:38 PM ET

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