Police storm newspaper offices over sex story

Police in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre on Thursday invaded the Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) looking for information over story done by the sensational Weekend Times a few months ago.

The story was in connection with the a senior Police officer at Chilomoni Police Station who was cheated by his junior to undress, ready for sex before the woman grabbed clothes as her evidence on the boss’s sexual harassment.

The official uniform was returned to the senior police official on instructions from the woman’s husband.

Cover of a Weekend Times tabloid

However a few months after the story was published and buried, armed uniformed and civilian police officers visited Weekend Timesnewroom demanding the newspaper reveal its source of information over the story.

Despite mounting pressure for the law enforcers, BNL editors put their foot down and did not disclose their source.

The police also brought to BNL the female police officer saying she was a liar that she was married.

The officers left without arresting anybody although their action was seen as part of government’s continuous infringement on the freedon of the press in Malawi.

The Weekend Times is the country’s first  scandal sheet and has been on the market for over one year. Among other contents, the paper targets fun lovers and exposes various ills of society such as love scandals of politicians and local celebrities.

Government attempted to ban the paper on the fact that the paper was not registered with the National Archives of Malawi in line with the Printed Publications Act.  But the court allowed it to continue publishing and circulating pending judicial review.

Media freedom is still under threat in Malawi following developments that continue to unfold.  President Bingu wa Mutharika ris on record saying he would not hesitate to shut down newspapers.

Malawi parliament in November 2010 amended Section 46 of the Penal Code which empowers a government minister to ban publications or importation of publications if the minister has reasonable grounds to believe that the publication or importation of any publication would be contrary to public interest.

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