Zambian Watchdog writers fear for their lives as government hunts them down

The entire Zambia security system is currently hunting for the editors, publishers and sources of the Zambian Watchdog.
And the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) has offered the persecuted Watchdog writers legal representation. MDLI legal director Peter Noorlander has confirmed that his organization is hiring lawyers to defend the Watchdog.
The Media Legal Defence Initiative (based in UK) is a non-governmental charity which works in all regions of the world to provide legal support to journalists and media outlets who seek to protect their right to freedom of expression.
The order was urgent and harsh and can be summarized as follows: identify, capture, extract information (using any method) and prosecute.
Zambia police are highly reputed for being cruel on torture.
The order was made by Gregory Phiri, a Supreme Court judge but exercising powers of a High Court.
The Crime: the Watchdog said something about a case in court.
“The State, through the Director of Public Prosecutions, all security wings, and all apparatus involved in information technology, including the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority, are hereby ordered to carry out a quick but thorough investigation into the author and the publisher.
“Once the relevant person or persons are identified, the police must arrest and bring them forthwith to this court so that they formally purge this contempt,” Gregory Phiri said.
The complaint was made by Bonaventure Mutale, a lawyer for Mathew Mohan who is facing a murder trial.
But the whole process was started by the Post newspaper through its managing editor Amos Malupenga. Malupenga copied letters to Judge Gregory Phiri and the Zambia police chief on Post letterheads directing them to take interest in the articles published by the Watchdog.
And the Watchdog team has expressed shock at the directive from the court describing it as death warrant.
The Watchdog team is shocked that the entire security system of Zambia could be mobilized to hunt and capture journalists just for doing their job.
The Watchdog views this as an assault on freedom of expression and press freedom and are therefore seeking protection from International organizations. They are wondering whether it is now the policy of president Rupiah Banda’s government to mobilize the government security system against journalists for just doing their jobs.
The Watchdog believes that this is not about the matter they may have commented on but that they are aware that for a long time, the authorities and some people not happy with their work have been trying to kill them and destroy their work.
The Watchdog exposes corruption and other crimes like murder, drug trafficking through investigation and analytical special reports. This has brought hatred against the people running g the Watchdog.
The Watchdog is a truly independent and free publication which is solely controlled by its editors. It does not tolerate any encroachment on its editorial independence from any one.
But the Watchdog has vowed to continue with their work no matter what happens. Even if the Zambia security and defence forces manages to kill any of the people involved in the Watchdog, the web based newspaper shall continue.

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