A vote in the Malawi Parliament has led to the repeal of an amendment to the country’s penal code which banned any news “not in the public interest”. Though amendment to Article 46 of the penal code was introduced in 2010, and was passed last year, it was never implemented after challenges from press freedom groups. The sweeping amendment would have allowed the government to ban anything deemed not to be in the public interest for an unspecified amount of time. Only one member of parliament voted against the repeal.
A journalist has been arrested in Malawi for writing an article on a same-sex engagement ceremony. Clement Chinoko, who works for Blantyre Newspapers Limited, was arrested on 26 May after an article appeared in the Malawi’s Sunday Times on 20 May detailing the engagement of two women in the southern city of Blantyre. The journalist has been charged with “conduct likely to cause breach of peace” and police spokesman Nicholas Gondwa has claimed the article is a fake. Chinoko has not yet been taken to court or been released on bail. Earlier this month, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda announced plans to repeal the country’s laws against homosexuality.
A playwright has been arrested whilst performing a play which was deemed critical of the government in Malawi. Thlupego Chisiza was arrested on Sunday after armed police stormed the Lions Theater in Blantyre, where he was performing the play SEMO. The play, which was co-written by student activist Robert Chasowa, who died in mysterious circumstances, criticises the governments handling of laws which are believed to have regressed the country back to dictatorship. The authorities claimed Chisiza failed to send the play to the board of classification for vetting, which the playwright denies.
President Mutharika is using controversial methods to quash Malawi’s opposition. Santorri Chamley reports