MISA warns MPs against victimizing journalists

By Praise Ujani

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi chapter has strongly condemned members of parliament (MPs) who victimize journalists.

This comes following a scenario on Tuesday at parliament building in Lilongwe where some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislatures are alleged to have created a hostile environment for journalists after they barred the media from interviewing leader of the house, Kondwani Nankhumwa.

The legislatures verbally attacked the journalists by branding them as spies for Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and the opposition parties.

The MPs also accused female journalists of dating MPs from the opposition side.

In reaction to the development, MISA issued a statement which was signed by its chairperson, Tereza Temweka Ndanga, expressing shock over the behavior displayed by MPs.

The statement further accused Blantyre City South East parliamentarian, Sameer Suleman, who allegedly challenged that if given a chance he would slap the journalists.
Reads part of the statement: “It is unfortunate that journalists’ rights are being violated inside the house where laws are made.”

The statement further stressed that, members of parliament treated “journalists as criminals and journalism as a crime” yet it is the same media that plays a big role in disseminating information deliberated in the august house.

Ministry of Information and Civic Education, Mark Botomani, said his ministry has not received any official communication from MISA, however, he condemned such acts saying journalists are supposed to execute their duties without their rights being infringed.

The Minister further advised journalist to operate under journalism code of conduct and ethics much as the ministry protects their rights.

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