Chansa Kabwela

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Chansa Kabwela is a Zambian journalist, and news editor of the Zambia Post newspaper, who came to wide attention after her arrest on obscenity charges. Kabwela had distributed graphic images of childbirth to government officials to illustrate the effects of a Zambian nurses' strike. Kabwela was acquitted of the obscenity charge.


On July 13, 2009, Kabwela was arrested for "distributing obscene material": on June 10, in order to illustrate the effect of a strike by Zambian nurses, she sent government officials photographs of a woman giving birth in a hospital parking lot without benefit of medical assistance (the infant, who was in the breech position, suffocated during delivery).

President Rupiah Banda declared that the images (which had been taken by the woman's husband, and which Kabwela had considered too graphic to publish) were pornographic, and ordered the arrest of the person responsible;[1] Kabwela subsequently turned herself in to police.[2] Her trial began in August 2009.[3] The Committee to Protect Journalists called the charges against Kabwela "bogus",[4] and Reporters Without Borders described the charges as "ridiculous" and "absurd."[5]

On August 10, the Post published an editorial in support of Kabwela, calling the trial a "comedy of errors"; they were subsequently charged with contempt of court.[6] Those charges were later dropped.[7]

As well, the Patriotic Front demonstrated in support of Kabwela, leading to clashes with supporters of the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy.[8]

She was acquitted on November 16.[9]


  1. ^ Jonathan Clayton (August 28, 2009). "Chana Kabwela on trial in Zambia for showing plight of pregnant mothers". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  2. ^ "Editor jailed for 'porn'". iAfrica. July 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  3. ^ Per Nyberg (August 6, 2009). "Editor in obscenity trial for childbirth photos". CNN. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  4. ^ "In Zambia, bogus charges filed against Post reporter". Committee to Protect Journalists. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  5. ^ "Ridiculous pornography charges brought against newspaper editor". Reporters Without Borders. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Court summons Post editor-in-chief, columnist Ndulo". Times of Zambia. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  7. ^ Evan Preminger (September 29, 2009). "Judge Dismisses Charges in Zambian Article Controversy". Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  8. ^ "Chief Magistrate Kafunda bans Cadres,as the post is cited for contempt". QFM Zambia. August 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  9. ^ "Zambia 'porn' reporter acquitted". BBC News. November 16, 2009. 

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