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In Zambia, Power Struggle Between Gov't And Watchdog Escalates

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 20 2014

The Zambian government has just about had it with the independent, anonymous news site Zambian Watchdog. Their most recent offense? Publishing a draft constitution never before seen by the public. Mere hours after publication, Zambian authorities stated that they will pursue those responsible for “libelous, defamatory, treasonous and seditious statements and bring them to book.”

Although Zambian Watchdog is not singled out by name, the connection is clear to Global Voices. It is at least the second time this year that people in power have vowed to bring down Zambian Watchdog.

After the site singled Junior Minister Miles Sampa out as being corrupt—alleging he took cash meant for “unknown purposes” on a trip to the Northern Province—Sampa said he would do everything in his power to unmask the editors and sue them for slander. In response to his threats, the Watchdog published information about Sampa's extramarital affairs. After the Watchdog dragged his name through the mud, Sampa finally backed away, tail between his legs.

This power struggle is far from new, but it does seem to be escalating. Then again, I wrote something similar last July, and nearly a year later the site is still standing.

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