Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Malawi8 February 2008

Journalist and managing editor charged with “publishing false news”

Reporters Without Borders today condemned charges laid against Mike Chipalasa, of the privately-owned Daily Times, and its managing editor, James Mphande, for “publishing false news likely to lead to a breach of public order”.

The charges relate to an article carried by the paper on 14 January which included remarks by opposition leader, John Tembo, that the government had “brought foreign experts into the country so that the 2009 elections will go in favour of the [ruling] Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)” .

“It appears that this entire case is just a bid by the government to intimidate and silence journalists who quote the opposition", the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“We urge the authorities and Malawi’s justice system to halt these proceedings against our colleagues, whose work is not just to report comments which are favourable to the government.”

Police arrested Chipalasa on 2 February and questioned him for several hours about the article quoting the opposition leader. He was released on bail on 3 February. Head of the criminal investigation department, Davie Nyongo, said that James Mphande, whose by-line was also on the article, was also being sought for questioning.

Both journalists have been charged and Chipalasa has been summoned to appear in court on 15 February. He faces up to six months in prison.

In this country
20 May - Malawi
Radio shut down and staff arrested for election coverage
23 March - Malawi
Two journalists to be charged with "causing ridicule" to president
6 June - Malawi
Community radios banned from airing news
12 August - Malawi
Journalist killed in troubling circumstances
26 June - Malawi
President Muluzi’s re-election becomes a taboo subject

in the annual report
Malawi - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists