The Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi has condemned Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) for treating journalists in the country as spies and enemies.
The development follows Tuesday’s incident at the Parliament Building in Lilongwe where some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MPs created a hostile environment for journalists and barred the media from interviewing Leader of the House Honourable Kondwani Nankhumwa.
The journalists were being accused of being spies for the opposition and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) hence being denied an opportunity to interview Nankhumwa.
The DPP MPs are also on record to have accused female journalists of dating opposition Members of Parliament.
It is further reported that DPP MP for Blantyre City South East, Sameer Suleman, said ‘if given a chance he would slap the journalists’.
Honourable Suleman rose up to a point of charging at some female journalists but was restrained by Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi.
In reaction to this, MISA Malawi has issued a statement condemning the behavior of the DPP lawmakers.
The institution through its chairperson, Teresa Ndanga, said on Wednesday that it is unfortunate that some MPs are in the forefront victimizing journalists right inside the building where laws of this country are made.
Ndanga added that they are expecting lawmakers to respect the laws and fully understand that the Republican Constitution guarantees media freedom.
“MISA Malawi would like to condemn the undemocratic and unbecoming behaviour by some Members of Parliament (MPs) who treat journalists as spies and enemies.
“Malawi Parliament is in the process of taking Parliament to the people and the media has been key in that process. It is therefore appalling to see some MPs treating journalists as criminals and journalism as a crime,” said Ndanga in a statement.
She further added that MISA Malawi values a strong partnership that exists between journalists in the country and the Malawi Parliament and she asked the authorities at Parliament to put an end to such uncalled-for conduct.
MISA has also urged all Members of Parliament to realize that the National Assembly is a public institution that is supposed to be accountable and transparent to the media and the general public at all times.