The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Malawi) is concerned with reports that prison warders at Maula in Lilongwe manhandled reporters from Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) for covering the on-going strike by the prison warders.
The Chapter would like to remind people that the ‘media has a right to report within Malawi and abroad and to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to information.’ We believe that media coverage of the strike by the prison authorities is no exception.
MBC reporter Patrick Dambula and camera man Hastings Khombo were manhandled by the warders around lunch hour today, Monday, July 17, 2017.
In an interview with MISA Malawi, Dambula said that they failed to do their story because of the hostile atmosphere at the prison.
“Things got worse when we approached the gate. The prison warders tried to confiscate the camera but fortunately they failed. We failed to even do any interviews for our story. Lucky enough no one was hurt,” Dambula said.
Efforts to speak to prison authorities proved futile.
We would however like to call upon prison authorities to desist from attacking the media and to ensure that the matter is investigated and the culprits disciplined.
Beating up reporters and treating them as criminals is barbaric and retrogressive. MISA Malawi would like to caution the general public against any form of attack on journalists in their line of duty. Journalists have a responsibility to report and inform Malawians on developments in the country. Any form of attack on journalists is an infringement on not just the media’s right to gather and report but also citizens’ right to know.
The media is not an enemy of the people but a partner in development.