Nankhumwa Urges Chakwera to Respect Media Freedom
Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has asked President Lazarus Chakwera and his government to resist the temptation of taking Malawi to one party totalitarian practices where journalists were arbitrarily arrested and detained for reporting the truth.
He said this as Journalists are celebrate World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May.
Nankhumwa said it is worrisome that the current government continues to harass and arrest journalists for doing their job.
He further stated that is not surprised that the 2022 Freedom of the Press Index published by Reporters Without Borders, Malawi has slipped in ranking from 62 to 80 in 2022 in terms of promoting freedom of press and access to public information by journalists.
“It appears that the Tonse Alliance government under President Lazarus Chakwera has brazenly gone full throttle muzzling press freedom, including harassing and arresting journalists for merely doing their job,” said Nannkhumwa.
The leader of opposition added that through parliament, he will push for the removal of outdated laws that impede media independence and safety of journalists in Malawi in conformity with the democratic dispensation.
Earlier, MISA Malawi Chairperson Tereza Ndanga also called on president Chakwera to start arresting and prosecuting people that attack and harass journalists.
“Sir, we still see journalists facing verbal and physical attacks being done by police and other officials,” complained Ndanga.
President Chakwera who hosted media at State House in Lilongwe on Tuesday has since assured all journalists that his government will stand firm to preserve media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi.
“Freedom of press and freedom of expression mean that from time to time some will write or say a thing that offend us or embarrass us but that does not give any one license to deal with that person. We must never seek to harm or deprive them from their freedom. This has no place in a free society,” explained Chakwera.
He added that his government will harmonize laws by removing laws that criminalize or punish the exercise of freedom of expression.
“I am determined to see it done,” said the President.
The president then encouraged the journalists to stick to ethics and resist any forms of corruption.