The Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrateâ€™s Court on Tuesday released on bail Justice Mponda, a journalist working for an online publication, Malawi Voice, who was arrested on Monday morning.
However, the State, which did not object to the bail application, charged Mponda with only one count, contrary to an earlier police statement which indicated Mponda faced three counts, including one of insulting President Joyce Banda.
State prosecutor Happy Mkandawire told the court that Mponda will answer the charge of false publication.
Mpondaâ€™s lawyer, Chauncy Gondwe, in an interview, wondered why the State dropped the two other charges of insulting the President and criminal libel.
â€œWe donâ€™t know the reason. Maybe they are aware that they cannot use those archaic laws against journalists,â€ argued Gondwe.
Mponda paid K10 000 cash as bail bond while two other sureties were bonded at K50 000 non-cash each.
He has been asked to report to police every Monday in Blantyre and has been cautioned against interfering with materials that are under investigation by the police. He is expected to appear in court on November 15.
Mponda was arrested at his Chiwembe home in Blantyre and was immediately transferred to Lilongwe, a distance of about 310km.