The Malawi police have arrested Justice Mponda, an online journalist from the Malawi Voice, in the early hours of Monday, 15 October 2012, and charged him on three accounts of insulting the president, false publications and criminal libel.
Chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Anthony Kasunda has expressed his shock of the arrest.
"I have just witnessed police taking Mponda away to Lilongwe in a police van. He has been charged with three counts," explained Kasunda.
He explained that the charges are connected to stories about president Joyce Banda resigning, where a fake facebook account purportedly created in the name of the president had a post a few days ago announcing that she has failed to run the country and was resigning.
The other one is based on a story the Malawi Voice published focussing on the country border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania, where the online is accused of having falsely reported that the Tanzanian high commissioner to Malawi was being declared persona non grata.
"He looks to be in good spirits, though worried because he didn't even know that he was being transferred to Lilongwe. He was just put in the police vehicle until I told him," explained Kasunda.
"He will be at Lilongwe police station and please, let us give him moral support. Tomorrow it might be us," he added in his posting to an internet forum for MISA-Malawi.
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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