The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Malawi) is dismayed by the conduct of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters who earlier today beat up Times Group photographer Douglas Banda while on duty within Parliament premises in Lilongwe.
Banda, who was filming as the DPP supporters were being evicted from parliament for disturbing parliamentary proceedings, was ordered by the supporters to delete the pictures he had taken.
It is saddening that Banda was beaten up in full view of the police and DPP Secretary General Gresselder Jeffrey. Banda was rescued by fellow journalists who whisked him away to safety. It is important to also note that the assault happened while President Peter Mutharika was within Parliament premises.
It is also disheartening that while journalists in Malawi joined their colleagues across the world on May 3 to celebrate Press Freedom, there are still some people in Malawi who are creating a hostile environment for journalists.
MISA Malawi condemns in strongest terms the conduct of the DPP supporters and demand that the police should arrest and prosecute Banda’s assailants.
We also demand that the DPP should publicly condemn this act to demonstrate its commitment towards press freedom in Malawi. As the legal process takes its course on the matter, we further expect the DPP to discipline those who were involved in this heinous act.
Chairperson, MISA Malawi