WAN asks Zambian government to drop spying charges against “Post” journalists

WAN Protests Zambia Arrests

The World Association of Newspapers has asked the Zambian government to
drop
spying charges against nine journalists of the Post newspaper who were
arrested after an article in the paper questioned Zambia’s capacity to
withstand a military incursion from neighbouring Angola.

“We are greatly concerned that these journalists have been charged with
the
serious offence of espionage simply for exercising their right to
freedom of
expression,” WAN said in a letter to the Zambian President, Frederick
Chiluba.

“We urge you to withdraw the charges against all Post employees
immediately
and to halt all further actions against the newspaper or its staff which
might inhibit the free flow of information,” said the letter, signed by
WAN
President Bengt Braun.

Police arrested six Post journalists on 9 March and surrounded the
editorial
offices and printing plant the following day, preventing anyone from
entering or leaving and cutting off electricity and water. The six were
charged with spying, as were two other journalists and Editor-in-Chief
Fred
M’membe, who were arrested later. All were released on bail pending
trial.

The Paris-based WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry,
defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 15,000
newspapers and its membership includes 57 national newspaper publisher
associations, individual newspaper executives in 90 countries, 17 news
agencies and seven regional press groups.

This article was originally published on WAN asks Zambian government to drop spying charges against “Post” journalists