Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has condemned in strongest terms the arrest and beating of BNL Times journalist Archibald Kasakura .
“[Misa] is shocked and deeply saddened with the detention of journalist Archibald Kasakura who was arrested by Limbe Police, Blantyre, Southern Malawi, for allegedly ‘obstructing a police officer on duty,” said Anthony Kasunda, Misa chairperson in a statement.
Kasakura was roughed-up and arrested on Tuesday as he was taking pictures of law-enforcers chasing street vendors in Limbe town.
The law-enforcers are jointly with Blantyre City Council removing vendors from city streets. Kasakura, who was detained at Limbe police, was granted bail after his media company’s lawyer Innocent Kalua intervened on the matter.
“This is an uncalled for. We expect the police to be a reformed service and protect the society and the members of the media in their line of duty,”
Beating up reporters and treating them as criminals is barbaric, retrogressive and defeats the spirit of a reformed Police. We would like to remind the Police that mutual respect and a spirit of partnership between the Police and the media is the only way that Malawi can develop and promote peace and security,” said Kasunda.
Kasakura is reported to have sustained some bruises and swollen face as the police officers pounced on him for taking pictures.
“I was in Limbe in the morning and suddenly there was a commotion because Blantyre City Assembly official were chasing vendors from the streets. Some City Council officials started beating up a woman and I started taking pictures. The police were just watching the officials beating the woman.
“One of the officials from the Council saw me and informed the police who immediately pounced on me. They beat me up and took everything that was in my pockets. I introduced myself as journalist and showed them my identity card but they said they don’t care.’
“At the moment am coming from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. My right eye is blood shot and my handkerchief is full of bloodstains,” Kasakura told Misa.
Misa has since appealed to the Police to behave in a mature and professional manner and to avoid beating and jailing reporters for merely doing their job.