Malawi Police say they will press assault and malicious damage to property charges to Parliamentary chief security officer Youngson Chilinda for beating up Nation Publications Limited (NPL) photojournalist Thoko Chikondi.
Chilinda, a former army officer, assaulted the photojournalist at the National Assembly premises in Lilongwe on Thursday for allegedly taking Chilinda’s pictures without his consent.
The journalist was taking photographs of Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) presentation of a petition to parliament.
Central Region Police spokesperson John Namalenga said Chilinda faces arrest and charges.
“Police will press charges of assault to Chilinda and the matter will be taken to court,” said Namalenga.
Chikondi was taken to Lingadzi Police Sub-station for a statement before being referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where she was treated as an outpatient for eye ache, general body pains and soft tissue injury, according to a medical report.
Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Chairperson Anthony Kasunda has said the media grouping condemns the act calling it barbaric and retrogressive.
“MISA Malawi believes the media have the right to gather and report freely within Malawi and abroad and be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to information as enshrined under section 36 of the Republican Constitution,” the media watchdog said in the statement.
MISA Malawi believes taking photographs is part and parcel of a journalist’s work to gather and report matters of public interest and Chilinda’s action clearly violates this provision.
The media body has asked the Police to prosecute Chilinda .