Zambia’s public health system recently suffered a pay strike – one of the many woman that were unlucky enough to go into labour during this time ended up giving birth in the street, to a baby who ended up dying. Someone took photos of the whole event. Kabwela, apparently struck by the human cost of the crisis displayed explicitly in the photos, sent them on to government ministers.
How did the government respond? They arrested Kabwela and charged her with spreading indecent material, punishable with imprisonment of up to five years. Even worse, the penal code doesn’t clearly define what obscene material is.
A vibrant, intelligent and critital media is both one of the most needed and lacking institutions in this part of the world, where ‘democratic’ governments routinly crack down on a press they never really understood.