Wednesday, October 23, 2013
MISA MALAWI STATEMENT ON THE ARREST OF GALAXY FM RADIO JOURNALIST
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
For immediate release
The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is concerned with the arrest of Galaxy FM radio journalist Sylvester Namiwa, who was cautioned and charged with publishing content likely to incite violence on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.
MISA Malawi does not condone professional misconduct and parroting of lies and half-baked stories. But we at the same time consider the arrest of a journalist over professional misconduct retrogressive and attempts to stifle critical voices and opinion.
It is important to note that in any democracy, free speech is paramount and affords the citizenry, including the media, a chance to debate and shape public opinion. Without free speech, the media cannot effectively perform its watchdog role and check abuse of power and safeguard democracy. That is why MISA Malawi has been in the forefront campaigning for repeal and review of laws that restrict free speech, such as Criminal Defamation and other insult laws, which continue to be used to arrest and instill fear and trepidation in journalists and the citizenry.
We would like to appeal to people concerned and aggrieved by the programme aired by Galaxy FM to use appropriate channels of resolving their grievances such as lodging a complaint with the Media Council of Malawi (MCM) or indeed MISA rather than using the police to instill fear and trepidation in people.
We, at the same time, appeal to radio stations and the media in general to safeguard journalism as a profession and to conduct thorough research before publishing stories.
We have hope in the Police and the media to collaborate in safe guarding Malawi’s nascent democracy and to thoroughly investigate the looting at Capital Hill for the benefit of the tax payer and Malawi as country.
Overzealous reporting on the part of the media or indeed arresting journalists on the part of the police will not help the investigations and Malawi as a nation.
MISA MALAWI VICE CHAIRPERSON