By Wezzie Gausi:
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Malawi officials and Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda met yesterday to discuss issues surrounding the arrest of investigative journalist Gregory Gondwe.
Gondwe, who is the Director for Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ), was arrested in connection with an investigative piece the platform published over the weekend based on a leaked document from Nyirenda’s office.
Confirming the development Wednesday, Misa-Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the AG had apologised for the incident and gave assurance that such a thing would not happen again.
She said, during the interface, Misa-Malawi stressed the need for all journalists to be protected in the country.
Meanwhile, the media governing body has issued a statement in which it is calling on police to align its activities with the AG’s commitment.
“We can say our meeting has been fruitful as the AG has apologised but we want to stress to all the government departments that they have to respect the rights of journalists in the country. We have the Access to Information Act that needs to be upheld all the time.
“Misa-Malawi will also be engaging with the Inspector General of Police to map the way forward, especially when it comes to police confiscating gadgets of journalists and making unnecessary arrests. We condemn what happened in all its totality,” Ndanga said.
In a separate interview, Nyirenda said what happened to Gondwe was unfortunate, adding that he had nothing to do with it.
Nyirenda said he regretted the incident.
“Our meeting was good; we discussed issues surrounding rights of journalists, at the same time mapping the way forward on how government institutions can work together amicably,” Nyirenda said.
In statements, Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Media Aids and Health Watch, the British High Commission to Malawi and the United States government condemned the arrest of Gondwe.