The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is
disturbed with the recent events where Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS)
has twice been attacked by unknown masked thugs in the Capital, Lilongwe.
Is President Bingu wa Mutharika Malawi's new-found dictator?
MISA Malawi learnt with shock the smashing of ZBS vehicle on Sunday
morning and setting ablaze of another vehicle on Monday night at its
On the second attack, reports indicate that around midnight Monday, masked
men in a dark salon car attacked ZBS staff and set ablaze the vehicle the
media crew were driving in. The Police and well wishers rushed to the
scene in time to put out the fire.
It is disheartening that some people would want to instil fear in media
houses and media practitioners who are doing their job professionally in
the country. These are very unfortunate developments because an attack on
the media instils fear and anxiety and leads to self censorship which is
dangerous and retrogressive for our nascent democracy.
MISA Malawi strongly condemns the attacks by these unknown masked thugs.
We do not want to believe that these unwanted developments are strategic
and serving the interests of some people of influence.
In our view, the media in the country is fulfilling its rightful role as
watchdog of society and taking a proactive role in alerting responsible
authorities to put in place necessary measures to curb any impending
In Blantyre today (Tuesday), ruling Democratic Progressive Party youths have been threatening people with Panga knives ahead of demonstrations on July 20, 2011
Section 35 and 36 of the Malawi Constitution guarantee freedom of
expression and the press, respectively. Malawians do not want to be taken
back to the era when journalists were not free to publish news
We expect authorities and indeed any other persons who have problems
against journalists in the country, to channel their complaints through
media bodies such as MISA Malawi or the Media Council of Malawi which are
mandated to guard against violations against media freedom and
professional ethics, respectively.
We appeal to government to step up security for the media houses and media
practitioners in the country and trust that Malawi Police Service will
track these thugs down and bring them to book.
We sympathise with ZBS on the loss of property and we would like to assure
the management of ZBS and all the staff that we are with them during these
difficult times they are going through.
To all media houses and media practitioners, these are signs of times and
we should all tread carefully without losing our professionalism. This is
a clear sign that the media is under siege but let us all remain calm as
we discharge our duties as watchdogs of the society.
MISA MALAWI ACTING CHAIRPERSON
Things fall apart for President Bingu wa Mutharika