MISA Malawi is deeply concerned with the arrest, assault and detention of Likoma Community Radio Station reporter Oliver Malibisa by police officers.
Malibisa was arrested, assaulted and detained by officers from Likoma Police Station in the morning of Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
At the time of the attack, the reporter was covering demonstrations that Likoma Secondary School learners staged against one of their teachers.
One of the police officers, Prosecutor Nyirenda, repeatedly hit Malibisa on the chest with a gun and was later joined by seven other officers in dragging the journalist into a waiting police vehicle.
Malibisa was detained at Likoma Police Station for about two hours before the officer-in-charge ordered for his unconditional release. The officers also browsed through his phone to delete pictures they thought he had taken.
MISA Malawi takes the arrest, assault and detention of Malibisa as a direct attack on media freedom as provided for under section 36 of the Republican Constitution.
Police have an obligation to protect all Malawians and enforce laws and it is very unfortunate that police officers are in the forefront violating media freedom by attacking journalists for simply doing their job.
We repeat our call for the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service Dr. George Kainja to reprimand and discipline officers who abuse their powers by attacking journalists.
We also advise police officers who continue committing crimes against journalists to desist from such acts. Journalism is not crime.