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High Court restrains newspaper from publishing "libellous words" against acting president

(MISA/IFEX) - On 27 September 2008, the Lusaka High Court granted acting President Rupiah Banda an injunction restraining the "Post" newspaper and any of its agents from publishing libellous words against him.

On 28 September, the "Sunday Mail" reported 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 the court.

"It is ordered and directed that the 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 the libellous words against the plaintiff," the court order read.

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

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

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

MMD campaign media committee chairperson Chibeza Mfuni said that, since 20 August, the "Post" newspaper published 20 editorial comments full of hate speech against their candidate. He said that in the 20 editorial comments Banda's personality and character had unfairly been scandalised without any good cause.

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