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Journalist reports on arrest

11 January 2011, 12:59

Blantyre - Police in Malawi on Monday arrested a senior journalist with the sensational weekly tabloid which was briefly banned by authorities in October for not properly registering with the government.

"They have not told me the reasons why I have been arrested", Kandani Ngwira, a senior reporter with the one-year-old Weekend Times, told AFP on mobile phone.

He was speaking while being driven from the commercial capital Blantyre to Lilongwe, the administrative capital, 354km, away, in a police vehicle.

Ngwira said he suspected he was being driven to police headquarters in Lilongwe for questioning.

Davie Chingwalu, police spokesperson for the southern region, said he did not know why Ngwira was arrested. "I don't know what has happened and why he has been arrested. Kandani only phoned me in the morning that he was at a local police station for questioning."

The National Archives, a government department, last year banned the 15 000 circulating newspaper for a few days until its independent publishers Blantyre Newspapers Limited obtained a court order to stop the ban.

The company, run by the family of late first president Kamuzu Banda, also runs a daily and two other weeklies.

The newspaper thrives on sensational reporting of love and scandalous stories of politicians and local celebrities.

Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika has threatened to shut down newspapers he accused of lying that up to one million Malawians will need food aid.

He said last August that he would "close down newspapers that lie and tarnish my government's image".

Mutharika often accuses local newspapers of negative reporting about Malawi.



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