MISA Malawi condemns in strongest terms the beating of journalist George Banda by UTM party supporters at COMESA Hall in Blantyre on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
Banda, who is currently working as a reporter for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), was roughed up outside COMESA Hall this morning when UTM Presidential candidate Dr. Saulos Chilima and his running mate in the May 21, 2019 election Dr. Michael Usi were presenting nomination papers to MEC officials.
Speaking to MISA Malawi, Banda said that some members of UTM party private security detail accused him of being a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youth cadet.
“They dragged me and beat me up despite introducing myself as a MEC stringer. They said am not a journalist. I have a headache, my eye and my whole body is sore,’ Banda said.
Banda was treated at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital as an outpatient.
We acknowledge and applaud UTM Presidential Candidate Dr. Chilima for promptly condemning the assault and apologising to the media fraternity.
We however believe that violence has no place in a democratic society. This cuts across the board regardless of whether the victim is a journalist or party supporter.
We therefore appeal to all political parties to ensure that those responsible for violence are disciplined and held accountable for their actions.
Law enforcers should also take action.
Journalism is not a crime. It is a noble profession founded on principles of truth, accuracy, balance and service to society. Our job is to inform the public on what is happening in the country. Assaulting journalists for simply doing their work is barbaric and unconstitutional. It should never be tolerated.
About MISA Malawi
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi chapter was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.