Media Institute of Southern Africa, Regional Office, Namibia
Statement, 31 May 2013
The Media Institute of Southern Africa’s (MISA) Malawi Chapter is calling upon the National Assembly and the Police to act on Parliamentary Chief Security Officer, Youngson Chilinda, for assaulting Photojournalist Thoko Chikondi.
Chilinda allegedly assaulted Chikondi, a photojournalist from one of the country’s major publishing giants, Nation Publications Limited (NPL), on Thursday, May 30, while covering a presentation of a petition to Parliament by the Consumers Association of Malawi, (CAMA).
MISA-Malawi condemns such barbaric and retrogressive behaviour in the strongest manner possible and would like the National Assembly to take serious disciplinary measures on Chilinda. MISA-Malawi would also like the police to arrest and prosecute Chilinda for beating up the photojournalist.
MISA-Malawi believes that the media have a right to gather and report freely within Malawi and abroad, and to be accorded the fullest possible facilities for access to information, as is enshrined under section 36 of the Republican Constitution. Taking photographs is part and parcel of a journalist’s work to gather and report matters of public interest and Chilinda’s actions clearly violate this provision.
Apart from violating this provision, Chilinda also assaulted and injured Chikondi who had to be treated for bruises and soft tissue injury at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
This act is not only barbaric and retrogressive but also a sad reminder of the dark days every Malawian is trying to forget.
MISA-Malawi, therefore, requests the National Assembly and the Police to take immediate action on Chilinda. The National Assembly should suspend Chilinda for his barbaric actions and the police should charge and prosecute him for assault.
MISA-Malawi is monitoring the situation and will continue doing so until the matter is dealt with to our satisfaction.
Information for editors:
MISA is a non-governmental organisation with members in 11 of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Officially launched in September 1992, MISA focuses primarily on the need to promote free, independent and pluralistic media, as envisaged in the 1991 Windhoek Declaration. MISA seeks ways in which to promote the free flow of information and co-operation between media workers, as a principal means of nurturing democracy and human rights in Africa.