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Malawi: Journalists beaten and detained to prevent them covering protests

At least seven journalists covering protests that took place in several cities during the past two days have been attacked by the police in Malawi. Some of the journalists were briefly detained. The government expressly banned radio stations from covering the demonstrations, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported.

“We are very disturbed by the particularly brutal reaction of the authorities to demonstrators and to the journalists who went to cover their protests,” RSF said. “We urge the authorities to allow journalists and media to do their job of reporting the news.”

Rebecca Chinjeka of Joy Radio, Amos Gumulira and Kondwani Munthali of Nation Publications, Leonard Sharra and Jacob Nankhonya of Blantyre Newspapers, and Isaac Kambwiri of Capital Radio were beaten by police during the demonstrations on July 20. Chinjeka was admitted to a hospital in Lilongwe for treatment to the serious injuries she received.

Kingsley Jassi of Blantyre Newspapers was beaten and detained yesterday for taking photos of policemen assaulting a demonstrator. He was released one hour later. Collins Mtika, a reporter for the website was arrested July 21 in the northern city of Mzuzu and has still not been released.

The two days of protests were organised by civil society groups to protest against fuel shortages, price hikes and a general decline in the economy, and to demand more democracy. The authorities dispersed the protests in a particularly brutal manner, with an initial toll of 18 dead and dozens of wounded.

Date posted: July 22, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 23