Malawi Prison Services (MPS) should investigate and discipline prison warders who manhandled two Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists at Maula Central Prison in Lilongwe on July 17, 2017.
MBC reporter Patrick Dambula and cameraman Hastings Khombo were manhandled by warders at Maula for going to the facility to cover a strike the warders have been holding since Friday, July 14 to force government to revise their salaries as other security departments in the country.
In a statement dated July 17, 2017, MISA Malawi Chairperson Teresa Ndanga has called on prison authorities to ‘investigate and discipline’ the warders concerned.
“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,” she said.
In an interview with MISA Malawi immediately after the incident, Dambula said they were ‘lucky no one was hurt.’
“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,” he said.
MISA Malawi has reminded people that the journalists have a responsibility to report and inform Malawians on developments in the country and that any form of attack on the media is an infringement on not just the reporter’s right to gather and report but also citizens’ right to know.