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Radio station studios ransacked, equipment destroyed

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by the acts of intimidation and violence to which journalists continue to be exposed in Zambia. In the past two weeks, a radio station has been ransacked and a newspaper reporter has been threatened and attacked.

"Such behaviour is unacceptable," Reporters Without Borders said. "The constant death threats against independent journalists and attempts to intimidate them must stop. We urge the authorities to take whatever measures are necessary to protect journalists and allow them to do their work."

In the latest incident, a supporter of President Ruphia Banda burst into the studios of radio Sky FM in the southern town of Monze at around 8:30 p.m. (local time) on 10 August 2009 and began smashing the computers in the editorial office. The three journalists present were so alarmed by his behaviour that they fled.

The man, later identified by the police as Musenge Chibwili, then took the microphone and told listeners he had decided to take matters into his own hands because nothing had been done after the government spokesman had said the station should be closed down. When the police arrived at the station, they found Chibwili still there and arrested him.

Kachana Sinyani, one of the journalists who was at the radio station when Chibwili arrived, told Reporters Without Borders that several computers were destroyed, windows were broken and broadcasting equipment was ransacked.

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