Three journalists today appeared before the Lusaka Magistrate Court charged with the offense of publication of false information with intent to cause alarm contrary to section 67 subsections 1 and 2 of the penal code cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The three Richard Sakala proprietor of the Daily Nation Newspaper, Simon Mwanza the Production Editor of Daily Nation Newspaper and MacDonald Chipenzi also a Journalist but working as Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Executive Director appeared in a packed court room before Magistrate Lameck Mwale and pleaded not guilty.
The three have since been granted bail but may go to remand prison at the end of the day because they may not meet the quite harsh bail conditions set by Magistrate Lameck Mwale.
Magistrate Mwale has granted the three bail on condition that each of them produce two working sureties who should be working for government or any quasi government institution plus K 10,000. The K 10,000 may not be a problem to any of the three but to find sureties working for government or quasi government institution under a dictatorship government run by President Sata who is controlled by Post Newspapers Managing Director Fred Mmembe a sworn enemy to both Sakala and Chipenzi is a toll order.
The defense lawyers may need to appeal the bail conditions.
By Press time several people including Civil Rights activist Brebner Changala were running around to find sureties.
Several people from the Civil society, and political parties attended the court hearing among them MMD President Nevers Mumba, Neo Simutanyi and Lusaka Lawyer and former Solicitor General Sunday Nkonde.