Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Zambia
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2006|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Zambia, February 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5672219.html [accessed 5 March 2015]|
In June, supporters of the ruling party, armed with machetes, attacked newspaper vendors selling the independent daily The Post. Local sources reported that the attacks were carried out in retribution for The Post's criticism of President Levy Mwanawasa for allegedly shielding a Health Ministry official from prosecution for corruption.
Police threatened to charge radio commentator Anthony Mukwita with sedition after a June 10 broadcast on the privately owned Radio Phoenix in which he read an anonymous fax criticizing Mwanawasa's administration for allegedly failing to crack down on corruption. Following the broadcast, Radio Phoenix management terminated Mukwita's contract, an action Mukwita believes was prompted by threats from Zambian authorities.
In late June, police questioned Fred M'membe, editor-in-chief of The Post and a former CPJ International Press Freedom Award recipient, and threatened to charge him with defaming the president. The Post had published a series of editorials accusing Mwanawasa of being a "liar" for allegedly failing to tackle official corruption.
The Post's M'membe was charged with criminal defamation in November. The charge stemmed from a commentary he wrote in which he accused Mwanawasa of hypocrisy, stupidity, and a "lack of humility." The commentary followed a bitter attack by Mwanawasa on former president Kenneth Kaunda, who had advocated wider consultation on a controversial draft constitution.