LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA-Malawi) on Thursday, May 18, 2023 demanded an immediate arrest and prosecution of overzealous Malawi Congress Party (MCP) supporters who assaulted Times Group photojournalist Francis Mzindiko at a public event.
On Wednesday, May 17, some people dressed in MCP regalia attacked The Times Group photojournalist Mzindiko at the official opening of the Malawi Bureau of Standards Laboratory and Office Complex in Blantyre.
It is reported that MCP zealots attacked Mzindiko for firming a fight that broke out between MCP and UTM supporters at the event which was presided over by president Lazarus Chakwera and his vice Saulos Chilima.
According to Mzindiko, after noting that they were being filmed, about 15 MCP supporters who were dressed in green MCP suits, demanded that the photojournalist should immediately delete the footage.
The Times Group photojournalist refused to delete the footage a development which irked MCP supporters who later confiscated the camera, took away a memory card and deleted the footage.
In a press statement, Misa Malawi chairperson Golden Matonga described the development as very worrisome and asked for an immediate action by authorities.
Matonga said that taking footage or pictures of a public place or events such as presidential events is not a crime and those who assault journalists for merely doing their job are supposed to be arrested and prosecuted.
“MISA Malawi condemns the act in strongest terms and demands that police bring to book all perpetrators of this serious assault on journalism. We are also sure that MCP leadership knows the supporters in green party suits who assaulted Mzindiko.
“We ask them to provide information that will help police do their job. MISA Malawi reached out to MCP and its Acting Publicity Secretary Honourable Ezekiel Ching’oma said the party would be issuing a statement on the matter,” said Matonga.
He observed that the assault happened whenChakwera recently expressed commitment to promoting and safeguarding press freedom.
“We therefore call for the translation of such words into action and that includes arresting and prosecuting the ruling party’s supporters for assaulting Mzindiko,” reads part of the statement.
MISA Malawi has furthercalled upon government to take serious steps in prosecuting those who commit crimes against journalists and do away with all sorts of impunity.
Malawi Police Service is yet to arrest suspects on the matter.