ZAMBIA REPORTER IN PORN TRIAL


The news editor of Zambia’s largest independent newspaper has gone on trial accused of distributing obscene images.

Chansa Kabwela sent two photographs of a woman giving birth without medical help to the country’s vice-president, health minister and rights groups._46065623_chansak

She says she was highlighting issues in the healthcare system and calling for an end to a nurses’ strike.

But President Rupiah Banda called the pictures pornographic and demanded a police investigation.

The pictures are graphic – they show a woman in the process of giving birth to a breach baby.

Its shoulders, legs and arms are visible, but the head has not yet been delivered.

The photos were apparently taken in the grounds of Lusaka’s main hospital.

The nurses were on strike and the woman had been turned away from two clinics.

By the time doctors operated, the baby had suffocated.

Chansa Kabwela, the news editor of the Post – Zambia’s most popular newspaper – says she was given the photographs by the woman’s relatives.

She did not publish them, but sent copies to a number of prominent people and women’s rights groups, along with a letter calling for the strike to be brought to an end.

President Banda expressed his outrage at a news conference, calling the photographs pornographic.

Pornography is illegal in Zambia and Ms Kabwela was arrested soon afterwards and charged with distributing obscene material with intent to corrupt public morals.

She faces five years in jail.

In her view, and in the view of campaigners for press freedom, the case is political.

The Post has relentlessly pursued the government with allegations of corruption and the president has made no secret of his dislike of the paper.

SOURCED FROM BBC

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