✓Misa Malawi concerned with police failure to arrest them.
By Rabecca Kaunda, NKHATA-BAY
Police’s silence and failure to arrest perpetrators of attacks on journalists in Malawi have angered Misa Malawi which calls for an immediate end to such impunity in the run up to 2025 General Elections.
For instance, the law enforcers have seemingly developed cold feet to send behind bars suspected Malawi Congress Party-MCP supporters who assaulted a Times Group photojournalist Francis Mzindiko at a presidential function in Blantyre in May this year.
Again, suspected Silver Strikers Football Club supporters went scot free after allegedly physically assaulting Kasupe radio reporter, Smart Chalika almost three months ago.
Misa Malawi Chairperson, Golden Matonga says failure to arrest and prosecute those who attack journalists in the line of duty fuels crimes of similar nature.
“Attacks on journalists create an environment of fear and unnecessary censorship in the media and that is the death of journalism,” says Matonga.
“We can preserve our democracy by ensuring that the media is safe and free to professionally report on democratic systems such as elections, politics, political parties and political leaders.
He adds “for the media to safely and freely cover the next elections, Malawi needs to develop and implement systems that safeguard journalism and do away with impunity for crimes against journalists.”
The call comes as the world commemorates the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists under the theme: ‘V𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙖𝙜𝙖𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙩 𝙟𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙣𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙨, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙜𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙥𝙪𝙗𝙡𝙞𝙘 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙥.’
In particular, the theme seeks to give visibility to the role of a safe and free press in ensuring the integrity of elections and our democratic systems.
Earlier, Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation-CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa indicated that attacks on journalists would continue if perpetrators of the vice are not arrested and prosecuted.
Ironically, Homeland Security Minister, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma, the police and MCP had pledged to ensure that the culprits faced the long arm of the law.
After the attack on Mzindiko, Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu stormed Times Group offices in Blantyre where he apologized and regretted the incident while pledging protection and promotion of media freedom in the country.
Suspected MCP supporters who assaulted Times Group photojournalist Francis Mzindiko.