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Media Freedom & Right to Know news

Malawi: Police save journalist from political zealots

A journalist from the Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL) Mike Chipalasa, was saved by the police after President Bingu wa Mutharika's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) zealots were baying for his blood for asking Mutharika questions during a press conference.
The conference was organised at the Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Monday, 15 November 2010 on the return of Mutharika from a tour of duty in India and South Korea where he attended a G20 meeting.

Pastoral letter from bishops regarding press freedom

Chipalasa asked the president three questions one of which demanded an explanation on the pastoral letter that was issued by the Catholic bishops which faulted his government and the country's press freedom.

"I invite you all journalists to ask me any kind of question that is bothering you and I am ready to tackle them," declared the president before journalists started firing questions.

After the conference the president even commended the journalists for their questions, saying they were all within context.

However, the party zealots who operate by the name of 'DPP Youth Morale' did not however share with their leader's views on the questions and moved to rough up Chipalasa after the meeting, branding his questions as something that intended to embarrass the president who needed a rest after jet-lag.

Whisked away in police truck

Police moved in quickly to prevent them getting closer to Chipalasa who was forced to abandon his official vehicle and whisked away by a police truck that had brought police officers to provide security within the airport premises.

The media has once again complained against the tendency by Mutharika to organise press gatherings in the midsts of his political party functionaries who heckle, boo or cheer journalists whenever the president is asked questions during such gatherings.

About Gregory Gondwe

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started writing in 1993. He is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He can be contacted on . Follow him on Twitter at @Kalipochi.
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