The Media Institute of Southern Africa, (MISA) Malawi chapter, has expressed concern over the unconcluded cases of attacks on journalists who have been harassed while inline of duty.
MISA condemned the development through its statement released on 10th January, following the assault of Tuntufye Radio journalist, Patricia Kayuni, who was harassed by demonstrators in Chitipa, on Thursday.
Kayuni was assaulted for allegedly taking pictures of the protesters which according to MISA “it is not a crime” and called on police to swiftly act on the matter.
According to the statement, also signed by MISA Chairperson, Tereza Ndanga, the chapter described the assault as a threat to press freedom in the country and highlighted that it depends on security agents to deal with those who perpetrate violence against journalists.
Reads part of the statement: “MISA Malawi upholds the right to demonstrate. We, however, recognise the need to exercise the right to demonstrate in cognizance of other constitutional rights including media freedom and freedom of expression.”
In September, 2019 two journalists, Golden Matonga of Nation Publications Limited and Gladys Nthenda of Kulinji Media were also attacked by some demonstrators during a protest organized by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) in Lilongwe.
The statement therefore asked the law enforcers and demonstrators to understand the role of journalists in covering different issues including protests and allow them to exercise their freedom of expression.
Meanwhile MISA has promised to continue engaging law enforcers to strategize on how best members of the media can be protected during demonstrations.