Mutembo Nchito fails to gag Daily Nation

Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda yesterday differed with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito who wanted to ban the Daily Nation from covering court proceedings  for publishing a picture of a Nigerian witness in case  in the which former republican president Rupiah Banda is charged with abuse of office.

Mr. Nchito claimed that the newspaper had breached section 117 of the laws of Zambia, because no one was allowed to take photographs of court proceedings, witness or suspects in court not even to sketch them.

He insisted that the picture of Mr Ekpene was taken in court, in Lusaka.

He alleged that the Daily Nation had problems with respecting the law and the sanctity of the court.

“I will ask the investigating wings or the law enforcement agencies to investigate the matter before I can make up my mind to whether I can raise criminal proceedings against the newspaper or not,” said Mr. Nchito.

This was after the Daily Nation Newspapers in yesterdays’ edition of the Daily Nation published a photo on its front page of the Nigerian Oil Tycoon who is at the centre of the oil deal.

“This is a serious matter. Your honour I will consider bringing to court this newspaper. I will consider that this newspaper is barred from covering these proceedings. Not any journalist worth salt will go that way,” he said

But in his ruling Mr Banda said that he was constrained to bar the Daily Nation from covering court sessions because the media had an important role to inform the people about the proceedings taking place in courts.

Mr Banda however counseled all media houses to observe ethics and the law in their daily reporting of court sessions.

“The learned DPP has raised two issues concerning the paper for publishing the photograph taken in court saying it contravenes section 117 of the laws of Zambia. He also wants the newspaper to be barred from covering proceedings in this matter. I wish to state that reporters play a critical and important role in the dissemination of court proceedings. However it is important that their reports reflect the accurate proceedings of the court,” he said.

Mr Banda insisted that the media played a critical role in the governance of the nation and it was therefore important for reporters and media organisations to be ethical in the way they covered courts.

Earlier Mr. Nchito said, he did not like complaining against the media, but that his colleagues in the media conducted themselves in a manner that was uncalled for and as DPP he had a  duty to ensure that something  was done about the situation.

“ I have a copy of issue number 541 of a newspaper calling itself the Daily Nation in which not only have they  tried to draw conclusions, but have  published a photograph of a witness  clearly  taken in court.” Mr Nchito said

He said that the newspaper had breached section 117 of the laws of Zambia, adding that no one was allowed to take photographs of court proceedings, witnesses or suspects in court not even to sketch them.

He alleged that the Daily Nation had problems with respecting the law and the sanctity of the court.

Mr Banda He said that reporters needed to be responsible and not draw conclusions, adding that he found it constrained to bar the Newspaper from covering the proceedings as doing so would not be in the best interest of the law that governs media freedoms.

“Let reporters in general and particularly the Daily Nation newspapers act professionally and responsibly and will leave it there,” he said.

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