Ed­i­tor in court over child­birth ‘porn’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

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