Editor in court over childbirth ‘porn’
LUSAKA: Zambian police yesterday used batons to break up clashes between rival protesters outside a court where a newspaper editor is on trial on pornography charges over pictures of a woman in childbirth.
About 100 supporters of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy and about 60 opposition activists who sympathise with the editor were protesting outside the court.
The heated protest turned into scuffles on the court grounds, with one opposition activist hit in the face by a screwdriver, knocking out a tooth, according to an AFP reporter who saw the clash.
Police broke up the protest after about 10 minutes. No one was arrested.
Chansa Kabwela, editor of the private Post newspaper, is on trial over unpublished pictures showing a woman giving birth on the sidewalk outside a hospital during a doctors’ strike.
The baby, born in the breech position, subsequently died.
The mother’s family took the pictures and gave them to Kabwela in frustration at the strike.
Although Kabwela did not publish the pictures, she sent them to government officials, urging them to stop the strike and improve Zambian healthcare.
The permanent secretary in the health ministry, Velepi Mtonga, told the court that she was shocked by the images, which she said violated patient confidentiality.
“When I saw the picture I was very angry and I cried because women had been exposed,” Mtonga said.
“In the medical profession we are taught to maintain confidentiality,” Mtonga told a courtroom packed by at least 120 people.
“Childbirth in our culture is something that women keep so private and confidential and I thought that somebody could have covered the woman,” she said. – Sapa-AFP