Africa losing hard won press freedom – Amnesty

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Amnesty International has expressed dismay over reports of attacks on Southern African journalists arguing they depict the loss of hard won press freedom fought during the colonial era.

According to a statement by the Amnesty International to mark World Press Freedom Day, the year 2016 registered attacks on journalists in African countries including Malawi.

“In Malawi Tereza Chirwa Ndanga a journalist working for private owned Television Station, Zodiak Broadcasting was harassed by security personnel at State house in October during her visit to cover President Peter Mutharika’s press conference,” reads part of the statement made available to Malawi24.

Media still facing challenges in Malawi.

The statement further faulted Mutharika for branding Zodiak Broadcasting Station as “liars” without specifically mentioning the lies.

Amnesty International regional director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena has since expressed worry over attacks against journalists for standing on journalistic principle of truthfulness.

“This cynical onslaught is weakening independent journalism and rolling back the hard won media freedom fought for since colonial time,” Muchena said in the statement.

Muchena has urged African leaders to reverse the trend of closing the media space on the continent.

Among countries that registered attacks include Lesotho where Lesotho Times editor was shot on 9th July, 2016 by unknown gunmen leading him to quit his job and flee to another country.

In Botswana, investigative journalists from INK centre were detained for visiting the construction site of President Ian Khama’s holiday house.

While in Zimbabwe, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) recorded 32 cases of journalists who were assaulted from January to September last year.

Malawi has since joined other countries in the world in commemorating World Press Freedom day today.

The day, 3 May, was set aside by United General Assembly to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind government of the duty to uphold the right to freedom of expression stipulated on article 19 of the 1948 Universal declaration.

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