The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter has condemned death threats on Radio Maria journalist, Branzio Chingwalu, over a follow-up story he did on the remarks First Lady Callista Mutharika made on scarcity of fuel.
The journalist claimed that he received a death threat message from a mobile phone number 0994 645 729 which read: “Sankha chimodzi, imfa kapena moyo. Unalemba nkhani yonyoza First Lady chifukwa chakusowa mafuta. Ntchito yako ikuphetsa mphwanga [Choose life or death. You wrote a story that castigated the First Lady because of the fuel shortage. You will die because of your job], we are monitoring you and our network is stronger than you think.”
Chingwalu has asked people in Mangochi to comment on First Lady remarks she made recently when she opened a health centre in Mzimba that rural people need not worry about fuel scarcity.
“MISA Malawi continues to be disturbed by the threats directed at media practitioners,” chairperson of Misa Malawi Anthony Kasunda said when contacted by Nyasa Times.
“ These journalists are just doing their job. The threats to the Radio Maria reporter comes after a former MIJ reporter and Nation Publications Ltd also received similar death threats,” he added.
“As MISA Malawi, we strongly condemn these barbaric and retrogressive acts. This is a democratic country in which the media plays a watchdog role. People in public positions should learn to accept criticism and they should know that they hold such positions on trust from people,” he said.
The media body said the role of the media is to provide checks and balances and act as society’s watchdog.
“As media, we will not be intimidated and maintain our resolve to be professional. Such elements that are issuing these threats are unwanted in a democratic State,” he said.
Misa Malawi called on Police to investigate the threats “thoroughly and bring such cowards to book.”
Chingwalu said he interviewed people to give their views o whether the remarks made by the First Lady were accurate that they do not really need fuel.