MISA Malawi would like to inform its membership that the Malawi Police Service (MPS) has come up with security guidelines to ensure safety of journalists covering the ongoing campaign trail.
Through its National Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent James Kadadzera, the MPS is calling on all journalists covering high threat events such as mass political rallies to follow the following guidelines:
- Possession valid Identity Cards of their media house
- Have working phone numbers of the Officer-in charge [OC] and the Public Relations Officer [PRO] of the station where the mass rally is scheduled to take place.
- To inform the Station OC and the PRO when in their jurisdiction
- To report any threats of violence, at any level, to the police
- To report any incident, be it assault or malicious damage, to the police immediately
- At the mass rally venues, Station PROs will be among the reporters to assist in case of any eventuality.
The production of the guidelines follow MISA Malawi’s Media Advocacy Group engagement with MPS leadership on worsening reports on attacks on journalists covering political party campaigns.
MISA Malawi Media Advocacy Group wrote the IG, Duncan Mwapasa, raising concern on the attacks on journalists and requested an audience with the IG to explore ways of improving security for journalists covering campaign rallies.
Journalists are increasingly becoming victims of political violence as the country prepares for the fresh Presidential Elections. The disturbing trend prompted MISA Malawi to directly engage different stakeholders, including the MPS and political party leaders, to seek commitment and action on ending political violence as well as do more in protecting journalists during and after the elections.
As we work together to ensure safety and security for journalists, we call upon media houses to ensure that their reporters are easily identified as reporters and follow the developed guidelines to ensure that reporters covering political rallies and other events are safe.
MISA Malawi would also like to thank the IG and the MPS in general for developing the guidelines and to ensure their implementation.
We will continue to engage the IG and the MPS to strengthen the relationship that exists between the media and the Service in the country. We hope this is the first step in building a relationship of trust between the media and the police.