New York, June 3, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Zambian President Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his administration to halt the ongoing harassment of the nation’s leading independent newspaper The
“Fred M’membe’s conviction appears to be part of the ongoing harassment against The
The contempt charge, a misdemeanor, is based on The
Under Zambian law, contempt charges can be used against those who publish commentary on ongoing court proceedings.
The government’s case against Kabwela herself fell apart last year. She was dragged into court after mailing to several high-ranking government officials the unpublished photographs of a woman giving birth without medical assistance during a hospital strike. She said she did so to stir the government to bring an end to the labor dispute. Banda characterized the photographs as pornography, but a judge dismissed charges against Kabwela in November 2009.
CPJ has documented numerous instances in which supporters of Banda’s ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy party have harassed and attacked The Post and its journalists. Banda himself is a plaintiff in a civil lawuit against The
Editor’s note: The original text of this alert has been modified in the first paragraph to correct the potential prison penalty.