Police yesterday detained a Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) television cameraman for allegedly filming the motorcade of President Peter Mutharika near Area 18 in Lilongwe.
The journalist, Hyten Chilema, was arrested as he filmed the presidential motorcade at Area 18 Roundabout, according to the broadcaster. He was later freed after being taken to Area 3 Police Station.
However, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera and Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said they were not aware of the incident just before we went to press.
While the media landscape is mostly friendly to journalists in the country, sporadic cases of police officers or political operatives harassing journalists continue to undermine gains made in media independence.
Recently, ZBS reporters were barred from attending Mutharika’s press conferences at Kamuzu Palace, but the actual arrival at KIA earlier on went without any incidents against the media apart from Mutharika’s boycott of any questions from the press.
Mutharika’s return from the United States of America (USA), where he recently attended the United Nations General Assembly, attracted a lot of attention from the public as the trip had created controversy and anxiety following the information blackout that characterised his two-week extended stay.
Hundreds of thousands thronged the roadside from Kamuzu International Airport to Kamuzu Palace to have a glimpse of the President whose absence sparked speculation on social media. n