Zambia editor jailed over childbirth story

2010-06-04 11:39

The editor in chief of Zambia’s only private daily has been

sentenced to four months with hard labour, for running a story on a pornography

trial that centred on photos of a woman in childbirth.

Post Newspaper editor Fred M’membe was convicted of contempt of

court on Wednesday, for publishing a commentary from a US-based lawyer about the

trial while the proceedings were still under way.

“This sentence will serve as a deterrent to other would-be

offenders,” said Lusaka magistrate David Simusamba.

M’membe was led to prison by warders immediately after the


His lawyer Remmy Maiza said he would appeal against the


Post news editor Chansa Kabwela was in November cleared of

obscenity charges over an unpublished picture of a woman giving birth on a

sidewalk outside a hospital.

The photograph was taken during a doctors’ strike, and highlighted

the poor state of medical care in Zambia.

The photo was never published, but Kabwela sent copies of the

picture to vice president George Kunda and women’s groups, sparking outrage in

the presidency.

President Rupiah Banda personally ordered the prosecution to take

up the case against Kabwela, raising concerns about media freedom in Zambia.

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