Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter has expressed concern that a couple of journalists were subjected to political violence as the country prepares for the fresh presidential polls.
The media watchdog is urging political parties to guarantee the safety of journalists when covering political campaign rallies and reminded media houses of the need to report in a manner that helps build the country.
Misa-Malawi said in a statement signed by chairperson Teresa Ndanga that media houses should also take all precautionary measures that would guarantee the security of reporters.
“No story is bigger than the life of a journalist,” she said.
Misa-Malawi statement comes after Times Group and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) reporters were recently caught up in acts of political violence when thugs on May 29 attacked a Tonse Alliance convoy in Phalombe.
Zodiak cameraperson Hezekiah Namonde suffered hand injuries during the assault, while reporters Emmanuel Chibwana of ZBS and Jameson Chauluka and Lazarus Nedi of Times escaped unhurt.
The reporters were travelling with the country’s estranged Vice President and Tonse Alliance running mate Saulos Chilima, who was on tour in Mulanje and Phalombe.
On Saturday, May 30, another group of hooligans assaulted Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists Dick Shumba, Isaac Jali and William Zare with metal bars at Mponela in Dowa.
The three were part of an MBC crew on assignment to cover political rallies addressed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) Alliance running mate Atupele Muluzi.
The mob stole Shumba’s money and broke Jali’s mobile phone. They also reportedly threatened to torch Shumba.
MISA is also engaging the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to take serious steps in addressing the situation, saying accurate and credible information for Malawians during this campaign period cannot be overemphasised.
Ndanga saud the attack on the journalists Is not only a violation of media freedom, but citizen’s right to know and effectively participate in the electoral process.
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