COMMENT: saddened by attack on its journalist

Gladys Nthenda

Journalists the world over inform and educate the public about events and issues and how they affect people's lives; journalists help set the agenda and shape public discourse; journalists are not supposed to make news.

But on Wednesday two journalists Gladys Nthenda a senior reporter for this publication and Golden Matonga of Nation Publications Limited made headlines when they were attacked and assaulted while covering demonstrations meant to force Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chairperson justice Jane Ansah to step down.

The harrowing tale of how Gladys' phone was snatched away, her pair of trousers torn all the while showing her official identification card leaves us wondering about the level of moral decay of our social fabric in which the decency of a woman is no longer as respected.

We fear that such misogynistic attacks serve to compound the pressure that women journalists face leading to their withdrawal from the public sphere which is by no means good for democracy which demands plurality of voices.

We applaud the Malawi Defence Force soldiers who stepped in to rescue Gladys from this traumatising experience.

We also thank Media Institute of Southern Africa from condemning the barbaric acts that have seeped into the demonstrations lending credence to notions that the protests are violent and should therefore not be allowed to continue.

Beyond the statements we hope that those behind such acts will be brought to book to pay for their sins and send a strong warning that such acts are unacceptable. 

As an up and coming media publication that is an independent, impartial and a credible source of online news as well as a citizen engagement platform we will continue to augment efforts to cultivate an informed citizenry and will not be fazed by attempts to muzzle the press.