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Police assault journalists

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Police in Mzuzu Friday roughed up two journalists Musase Cheyo and Towera Kumwenda of Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) for taking videos and pictures of officers who were involved in running battles with vendors.

The police were chasing the vendors from the streets in a sweeping exercise ahead of Independence Day celebrations which fall on July 6.

Cheyo said over 15 officers started beating them after confiscating their recorders, phones and notepads and later detained them at Mzuzu Police Station for about an hour.

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“When I arrived in town in the morning, I observed that there were many police officers in the streets. I called [Peter] Kalaya [Mzuzu Police Public Relations Officer] to find out more and he told me about the exercise. I later asked for permission for us to take footage and he granted us the permission.

“While taking the footage, the police approached us and we told them that we are journalists. They appeared not convinced and started beating us before taking us to police station,” Cheyo said.

Kalaya, however, refused to comment on the issue.

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Meanwhile, Nyika Media Club Chairperson Mandy Pondani has condemned the attack and has asked police authorities to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.

“It is worrisome that the work environment is becoming extremely hostile for the media in Malawi, authorities should step in and help in safeguarding press freedom,” she said

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