By Phaless Nthambo, MZUZU
Misa Malawi Chairperson, Golden Matonga is dismayed by the conduct of some unruly Mzuzu University students who attacked a Nation Publications Limited journalist Jonathan Pasungwi and demands that the law takes its course.
The students went on rampage on Friday during their violent protests pushing for the suspension of tuition fees hike.
In their strange thinking, the students, widely regarded as the green intellectuals, reportedly pounced on the reporter while on duty capturing every detail of their destructive evil acts.
Among others, the protesters blocked two ambulances that had patients on their way to Mzuzu Hospital for medical attention. Some attempted to steal from Sana Shop in Luwinga Township.
The disgruntled students angrily took away Pasungwi’s phone and deleted all the pictures he had taken.
Matonga describes the continued attacks of journalists as unfortunate; stressing the need to respect media freedom.
“Misa Malawi reiterates its call for everyone including demonstrators to respect and uphold constitutional guaranteed press freedom at all times.
“Physically and verbally attacking journalist and forcefully deleting information during demonstrations is not only wrong but criminal,” says Matonga.
Meanwhile, police have charged 16 students, suspected of being behind the violence, with the offence of conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Ironically, the law enforcers are yet to make arrests on some suspected Malawi Congress Party thugs who assaulted a Times Group photojournalist, Francis Mzindiko during a presidential function in Blantyre in May this year.
Then, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation-CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa observed there have been attacks on journalists in the past but none gets arrested, prosecuted and punished for these crimes.
“Unfortunately, government does not seem committed to protecting journalists from violence. Apart from issuing statements, nothing is done to hold those who assault journalists to account,” argued Kaiyatsa.