By Wezzie Gausi:
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter says it will engage political parties and the police to seek a commitment in protecting journalists and action on ending political violence during and after the forthcoming presidential election.
On Friday, thugs attacked a vehicle that Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) and Times Group reporters were travelling in during a whistle-stop tour that Tonse Alliance running mate Saulos Chilima’s had in Mulanje and Phalombe districts.
According Misa Malawi Chairperson Theresa Ndanga, the institution is concerned that journalists are increasingly becoming victims of political violence as the country prepares for the fresh presidential election.
“The disturbing trend has prompted Misa to directly engage political party leaders from whom it seeks a commitment and action on ending political violence as well as commitment that they will do more in protecting journalists during and after the elections,” says the statement.
It adds that on Saturday, another group of thugs assaulted Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists Dick Shumba, Isaac Jali and William Zare with metal bars at Mponela in Dowa.
The three were part of the MBC crew that was supposed to cover the campaign tour of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) Alliance running mate Atupele Muluzi.
“The mob, which has stolen Shumba’s money and broken Jali’s mobile phone threatened to torch Shumba. This trend should not be left unchecked. It is shameful, criminal and retrogressive as Malawi seeks to build on the gains of democratic rule,” the statement adds.
Meanwhile, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Youth and Society (Yas) have condemned political violence that is taking place in the country.
Yas Executive Director Charles Kajoloweka urged those going around the country to woo voters to use this moment to promote human rights and good governance principles.
On his part, CHRR acting Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa said political violence is a key challenge that presidential candidates should be prepared to speak publicly about during the campaign and seriously address as a priority after the election.
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