MCP says cooperating with police on Times photojournalist harassment probe

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) says it is cooperating fully with the police in their investigations over the harassment of a photojournalist working for Times Group.
The photojournalist was harassed on Wednesday by some youths whom he said were putting on MCP regalia.
They allegedly forced him to delete all the photographs he took when the MCP youths were fighting UTM youths during a presidential function at Malawi Bureau of Standards building premises at Chichiri in Blantyre.

In a statement, the MCP publicist Ezekiel Ching’oma said the party learnt with shock the alleged harassment of a the Times Group photojournalist, Francis Mzindiko.
“As a democratic party and as a party which upholds and respects freedom of the press, the MCP joins President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera in condemning the harassment of the journalist.
“MCP is fully cooperating with the Malawi Police Service on the investigations of the matter and we urge the law enforcers to arrest the culprits so that they face the long arm of the law,’ says Ching’oma in the statement.
He says the MCP, under the leadership of President Dr Chakwera, will continue to promote and protect freedom of the press as well as freedom of expression and speech in the country.
“It is never acceptable to harass or intimidate journalists or any individuals for doing their job or exercising their right to free speech.
“Such actions not only violate the law but also undermine the principles of democracy and respect for human dignity.
“Journalists play a critical role in holding those in power accountable and it is crucial that their safety and freedom to do their work are protected,” he says.
Ching’oma says ny form of harassment or violence against journalists should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
MCP has had a health working relationship with the media in the country from since the dawn of multiparty democracy in the country, since when the party was in opposition to this time when we are in government, says Ching’oma.
“This is the reason the Chakwera administration has provided conductive working environment for journalists.
“This is the reason for the first time ever in the history of the country, a sitting Head of State invites journalists to have breakfast with him during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, among others ,” he says.
Ching’oma assured Malawians that the MCP will never use its youths to harass or intimidate journalists but rather to spearhead President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s development agenda.
Meanwhile, media watchdog, MISA Malawi is demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of the alleged MCP supporters who assaulted Mzindiko.
A statement signed by MISA Malawi chairperson Golden Matonga indicates that; “the MCP supporters forcibly took out memory card in the camera he was using and deleted footage in his computer. The assaulters also damaged the camera.”
MISA Malawi has since called on the government to make sure that the suspects should be brought to book immediately.
During a rally at Kamuzu Upper Stadium yesterday, Chakwera condemned the violent attacks, which happened during the inauguration of the MBS building.

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