Reporters Without Borders has revealed several journalists covering Malawi’s recent protests have been beaten and detained, while the government has banned radio stations from covering the demonstrations. The protests were in place to express anger against fuel shortages, price hikes and a general decline in the economy, as well as to call for more democratic governance.
Authorities in Malawi have banned a weekly tabloid newspaper for not registering. The ruling comes a year after The Weekend Times published its first edition. The newspaper, renowned for its sensationalist reporting on scandalous stories about politicians and celebrities, is published by Blantyre Newspapers Ltd, a company owned by the family of former dictator Kamuzu Banda. Three months ago, President Bingu we Mutharika threatened to shut down newspapers deemed to have lied that one million Malawians will need food aid.
Peter Sawali was arrested in Blantyre on 3 February for putting up posters saying ‘Gay rights are human rights’. He was charged with ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of peace’ and could face up to three months in prison. A police spokesman Dave Chingwalu said “We cannot rule out international sponsors because of the quality and the quantity of the posters.”