31.05.2002 - Second arrest of a journalist since inauguration of President Mwanawasa
Reporters Without Borders protests against the brutalisation of Emmanuel Chilekwa, editor of the privately-owned newspaper The People, who was arrested today for libelling Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa.
"We ask you to show your clear commitment to press freedom and to ensure that no other journalist will be arrested" said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Mwanawasa, who has sued Chilekwa. Reporters Without Borders has called for the offence of "defaming the president" to be depenalised.
The Police have released Emmanuel Chilekwa, who wrote that President Mwanawasa had Parkinson’s Disease, without charging him with defaming the President. "They just hand-cuffed me, beat me up and demanded to know who gave me the information about the President and then released me. I refused to give them the information because it is against my ethics", the journalist said.
Fred M’Membe, editor of the privately-owned daily The Post, was detained by police for several hours on 11 February and then released on bail after being charged with libel for reporting that opposition MP Dipak Patel had called the president "a cabbage." Patel himself was arrested and held for several hours. Police announced on 26 February that proceedings against him had been dropped after he publicly apologised.