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Human rights | Society | Media

Contempt proceedings against local paper to start

afrol News, 2 October - Zambian high court has permitted acting president, Rupiah Banda, injunction to start contempt proceedings against Post Newspapers Editor-in Chief, Fred M'membe.

Sunday Mail reported on 28 September that according to a court order, the "Post" was directed to stop printing, circulating or distributing libellous words until an inter party hearing set for 3 October is held or until further orders of court.

"It is ordered and directed that defendant, Post Newspapers limited by its servants, agents, director or otherwise be restrained and an injunction hereby granted restraining them both jointly and severally from publishing or allowing publication of libellous words against plaintiff," court order read.

Paper further reported that court has also given a penal notice to Mr M'membe, editor-in-chief of Post Newspapers to comply with order.

Acting president, through his lawyers, Christopher Mundia and Company, wanted court to restrain defendants from publishing words, that he was a crook, a criminal, an unreliable and not a trustworthy person to electorate as president of Zambia.

In his application, Mr Banda claimed that Mr M'membe had disobeyed order and had continued defamatory opinions against him and that article was a total defiance and disregard of an injunction lawfully obtained from Judge Kajimanga.

However, Mr M'membe is said to have vowed to continue publishing stories and editorial comments questioning Mr Banda's actions, decisions and personality.

Earlier in September, ruling Movement for Multiparty and Democracy (MMD), reportedly complained to Media Council of Zambia (MECOZ) of alleged scandalous coverage by "Post" newspaper of Mr Banda who is also party's presidential candidate in 30 October election.

MMD campaign media committee chairperson Chibeza Mfuni said that, since 20 August, "Post" newspaper published 20 editorial comments full of hate speech against their candidate.

Mr Mfuni said that in 20 editorial comments Mr Banda's personality and character had unfairly been scandalised without any good cause.

"Post" newspaper is perceived to have taken a hard line stance against acting president when it became clear that he was going to be elected to contest presidential by-election on MMD ticket ahead of finance minister N'gandu Magande.

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