25 July 2011

Alert

Journalists beaten, detained and prevented from covering protests


Incident details

Assault

Rebecca Chinjeka, Journalist
Amos Gumulira, Journalist
Kondwani Munthali, Journalist
Leonard Sharra, Journalist
Jacob Nankhonya, Journalist
Isaac Kambwiri, Journalist

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(RSF/IFEX) - 22 July 2011 - Reporters Without Borders condemns police violence against at least seven journalists covering protests that took place in several cities during the past two days. Some of the journalists were briefly detained. The government expressly banned radio stations from covering the demonstrations.

"We are very disturbed by the particularly brutal reaction of the authorities to demonstrators and to the journalists who went to cover their protests," Reporters Without Borders 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 20 July. Chinjeka was admitted to a hospital in Lilongwe to treat the serious injuries she incurred.

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 Nyasatimes.com website was arrested yesterday in the northern city of Mzuzu and has still not been released.

The two days of protests were organized 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.


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