The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter says Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola yesterday verbally attacked a journalist, accusing her of being an agent of the opposition after she asked questions on fuel.
According to the statement signed by the Media Body’s Chairperson, Teresa Ndanga, it is reported that Matola verbally attacked MIJ FM Journalist Cathy Maulidi on Wednesday , April 6, 2022 during a press briefing dubbed Government Faces The Press, after Maulidi asked the minister a question on the government’s plans on fuel prices .
The Media Body further cited another case being that of Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe, who on March 23, 2022, threatened to walk out of an interview over a similar question and insinuated that someone had sent Maulidi to ask him questions.
Ndanga observed that it’s very worrying to note that members of the cabinet whose duties include upholding the Constitution are in the forefront of violating the same provisions they meant to protect.
“These and several other cases of media censorship, online and offline attacks on journalists and critical voices are suppressing media freedom, freedom of speech and other legitimate forms of dissent which is very sad for our democracy.
“The media and critics exist to ensure that Malawians are getting information about their government and ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the implementation of government plans, policies and development programs,” reads part of the statement.
The statement further observes that media and critical voices are not enemies of the state or government and that Ministers and other government officials are supposed to be accountable to the people and that it is not wrong to ask them questions.
Misa Malawi, has therefore, reminded government that any acts of using the state machinery, including police, and the ruling elite supporters to intimidate and attack the media and critics are not in line with the country’s Constitution which rightly guarantees civil rights and liberties to everyone.
Recently, government faced criticism over the arrest of an investigative journalist, Gregory Gondwe, over a story he published on the Platform for Investigative Journalism based on a leaked document from the office of the Attorney general.
Section 36 of the country’s Constitution, states that the press shall have the right to report and publish freely, within Malawi and abroad, and to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to public information.
Reported by Emmanuel Chilemba