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Editor harassed by police at election centre; reporter ejected from ruling party rally

(MISA/IFEX) - Julius Sakala, the news editor for Phoenix Radio station, was harassed and manhandled by police on 31 October 2008 as he tried to access the Mulungushi International Conference Centre the election management centre for the Zambian presidential by-election that recently took place.

Sanday Chongo, a reporter with the same radio station, told MISA Zambia that police officers denied Sakala entry to the premises even though he had all the necessary accreditation documents.

Chongo said the police officers, who could not justify their actions, later allowed Sakala entry after they heard him submitting a radio news story by telephone.

In a separate incident, on 28 October, Mutuna Chanda, a reporter with "The Post" newspaper, was ejected from a ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) campaign rally in Kitwe, a town in the Copperbelt province of Zambia. Party supporters told him they did not want the newspaper at the rally.

According to a report by "The Post" on 30 October, Chanda was forced out of Freedom Park, the venue for the rally, by MMD supporters who threatened him and accused "The Post" of reporting lies about their presidential candidate. Other supporters pushed him as he was led by the hand out of Freedom Park. Chanda was saved from being assaulted outside the campaign venue as a result of the intervention of the police and other MMD supporters.

"The Post" story indicates that Chanda was the only reporter who was approached and dragged out of the campaign rally venue.

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