MISA Malawi has expressed concern over continued assault of journalists by the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
In a statement released on Tuesday, MISA has expressed its dismay over continued assault of journalists in their line of duty by police officers.
“Assault of journalists for merely doing their work is barbaric and retrogressive and has to stop,” said MISA chairperson Teresa Ndanga.
According to Ndanga, police officers on Tuesday assaulted Journalists Julius Caleone of YONECO FM, Herbert Katantha of Luntha Television and Emma Zawanda of Timveni radio at Lilongwe police station.
The journalists were at Lilongwe police station to report on the events surrounding the arrests of Human Rights Defenders Coalition Chairperson Timothy Mtambo and had sought refuge within the station premises after the law enforces had fired teargas to disperse people who were protesting.
“Some police officers were however not happy with the presence of the journalists at the Station and chased them from the premises.
“The police officers insulted the journalists, pelted stones at them and even shoved Hebert Katantha with a gun.
“The officers accused the media of being behind the protests in the country,” she said.
Ndanga added that MISA Malawi finds it very unfortunate that police officers continue to be hostile to journalists on duty despite several appeals for a reformed police service.
She noted that as law enforcers, police officers ought to understand that the Republican Constitution guarantees media freedom and that the freedom applies at all times, including the time of protests or civil unrest.
The MISA Malawi chairperson urged the MPS to discipline officers who abuse their law enforcement duties by assaulting and abusing journalists.
She said: “The officers must stop treating journalists as criminals.”