Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi chapter has condemned attacks on journalists covering proceedings at the National Assembly by some governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators.
The media watchdog said in a statement on Wednesday that it is unfortunate that some Members of Parliament (MPS) are victimising journalists in the building where the country’s laws are made.
“We are specifically appalled by the utterances made by MP for Blantyre City South East Honourable Sameer Suleman who was recorded saying ‘if given a chance he would slap the journalists’.
“He actually charged at some female journalists but was restrained by Minister of Homeland Security Nicholous Dausi,” reads the statement in part signed by Misa-Malawi chairperson Teresa Ndanga.
Misa-Malawi said the DPP legislators also accused female journalists of dating opposition MPs.
“Misa-Malawi finds it unfortunate that some MPs are in the forefront victimising journalists’ right inside the building where laws of this country are made. We expect lawmakers to respect the laws and fully understand that the Republican Constitution guarantees media freedom,” Ndanga said.
On Tuesday afternoon, some DPP legislators led by Suleman – behaving larger than life – blocked the media from interviewing Leader of the House Kondwani Nankhumwa at Parliament.
Despite his interest to grant an interview as a media friendly politician, Nankhumwa was stopped by Suleman from speaking to journalists, accusing them of being “spies” for Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC).
Misa-Malawi has since asked National Assembly to “put an end to such uncalled-for conduct” by Suleman and other legislators.