Misa-Malawi wants Peter Mutharika to condemn attacks on media
BY FESTON MALEKEZO:
Media Institute of Southern Africa- Misa Malawi has asked President Peter Mutharika to condemn acts of attacks directed at media practitioners, observing that such cases have been on the rise in recent months.
Misa says this in a statement released on Tuesday following a recent attack on Times Group journalist Sam Banda Junior who was assaulted in the line of duty by security personnel.
The statement, signed by Misa Chairperson Teresa Ndanga, says such attacks contravene principles of freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
“Considering the trend we have seen of attacks on not only journalists but also people’s freedom of expression, Misa-Malawi would like to call upon President Peter Mutharika, who upon his election swore to protect the Malawi Constitution, to publicly condemn such attacks on constitutionally enshrined freedoms and rights,” the statement reads.
Banda, was harassed in the line of duty as he was conducting an interview with musician Skeffa Chimoto during Black Missionaries Kuimba 11 album launch at Robin’s Park in Blantyre. His camera was smashed in the process.
“I logged a complaint with Soche Police, who have since said they are investigating the matter,” Banda said.
Banda said he might have been attacked because his assailants thought he was taking pictures when they were assaulting a seemingly drunk person at the show in Blantyre.
“Misa-Malawi would like to caution the general public against any form of attack on journalists because of their work. Journalists have a responsibility to report and inform Malawians on developments in the country. Any form of attack on journalists is an infringement on not just the media’s right to gather and report but also citizens’ right to know,” the statement adds.
Facebook critic Idriss Nassah was also harassed by some unknown assailants at Chichiri Shopping Mall in Blantyre on Monday this week.
Misa-Malawi suspects that the harassment cases were perpetrated by ruling Democratic Progressive Party supporters, who were attending the party’s elective convention taking place less than 500 metres away.
“Misa-Malawi considers such actions barbaric and aimed at silencing critical voices. Such acts also tarnish the image of the country and lower the country’s ranking in promoting media freedom and freedom of expression,” he said.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Dausi, said investigations would be done to bring culprits to book.
“We strongly condemn the attack and we shall make sure justice prevails,” he said.
Last month, two Zodiak Broadcasting Station reporters were harassed in Mzuzu by law enforcers for taking pictures of officers who were involved in sporadic running battles with vendors.
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