MISA Malawi expresses its strong condemnation of the recent attack on Jonathan Pasungwi, a reporter with Nation Publications Limited (NPL), by a group of Mzuzu University (Mzuni) students.
On Friday, September 15, 2023, Mr. Pasungwi was assaulted by a group of Mzuni students who not only physically manhandled him but also confiscated his phone and deleted all the pictures he had taken while reporting on their demonstrations against a proposed fee hike.
MISA Malawi says they are deeply troubled by this incident, as it involves university students who are expected to exhibit intellectual maturity and champion the protection of fundamental freedoms. It is particularly concerning that these students violated media freedom while exercising their own right to assembly.
They have emphasised the importance of respecting and upholding constitutionally guaranteed press freedom at all times. Physical or verbal assaults on journalists and the forceful deletion of information during demonstrations are not only morally wrong but also constitute criminal behaviour.
Journalists play a crucial role in informing the public about matters of national significance, including the rights to freedom of assembly and speech. They should always be allowed to carry out their duties safely, even when covering demonstrations.
Furthermore, they have calling upon the law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident and ensure that those responsible for assaulting Mr. Pasungwi while he was performing his duty are brought to justice. MISA Malawi added that it is imperative that we work together to end impunity for all crimes committed against journalists.
MISA Malawi remains committed to defending and promoting press freedom in Malawi and will closely monitor developments related to this incident.