MISA Malawi and Human Rights Defenders Coalition have expressed concern over the continued arbitrary summoning, arrests and detentions of journalists by Malawi Police.
According to letters the two organizations have released, they have condemned the actions by police in strongest terms and believe the summoning, arrests and detentions are an attack on media freedom.
Their statements come following the summoning of a reporter over a story in which he quoted CDED executive director who criticized President Lazarus Chakwera’s delay to reshuffle the cabinet by March 31, 2021 as earlier promised.
In their statement signed by MISA chairperson Teleza Ndaga and HRDC’s national coordinator, Luke Tembo the Malawi police must understand that media freedom is enshrined in the Republican Constitution and their duty is to protect and not violate it.
The two said they have previously engaged Inspector General of Police, Dr. George Kainja, over such violations adding the current trend puts into question the commitment to protect press freedom that the IG had personally expressed.
They have also reminded him of the many times police authorities have promised to discipline officers who have attacked journalists on duty which is yet to materialize.
Speaking in an interview with Radio Islam, HRDC national coordinator Luke Tembo says ” we will not tolerate such acts to continue.”
In his response Malawi Police National spokesperson James Kadadzera said the reporter was summoned and later released unconditionally after taking a caution statement and was not subjected to any form of human rights violation.
The summoning and detention of the reporter comes after officers from Kawale Police Station in Lilongwe also arbitrarily arrested and detained Joy Radio journalist on 2nd April for taking pictures of a person who wanted to commit suicide