Zambian police charge investigative journalist

Thursday July 18 2013

By AFP

A Zambian journalist was charged Wednesday with possession of restricted information, in a latest crackdown on media workers critical of the government, his lawyer said.

Police searched Wilson Pondamali's home and found a document linking him to an article published by the country's only investigative news site, Zambian Watchdog.

According to Pondamaili's lawyer, Mulilo Kabesha, the document contained information suggesting that President Michael Sata was not fit to govern.

The freelance journalist is in police custody, and more charges could be brought against him.

"I can confirm that he has been charged with the offence of unlawful possession of restricted military pamphlet," said Kabesha. The offence carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Last week, two journalists were charged with sedition after they were found with documents linked to articles published on Zambian Watchdog.

The hunt continued despite the publication's policy of withholding the names of its journalists to protect their identities. Its webpage has been blocked by authorities since Tuesday.

The government of the southern African country has been accused of being intolerant of criticism and silencing dissenting voices.