MHRC launches investigations into Gondwe’s arrest

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has instituted investigations into the arrest and subsequent release of veteran investigative journalist, Gregory Gondwe, who is the Managing Director for Platform for Investigative Journalists (PIJ) in Blantyre.

Gondwe was arrested over a story which was 1ed on PIJ website and was reportedly forced to reveal his source of information on a story that exposed some alleged corrupt in relation to payments made to Zunneth Sattar's entities.

In a Press statement released on Wednesday signed by Chairperson for MHRC, Scader Louis, the commission was closely monitoring the case to guard against any interference with freedom of the press and right to privacy.

“The Commission has instituted an investigation into how Gondwe was arrested, treated whilst in Police custody. The tenets of our democratic constitution require a strict adherence to protection of human rights and rule of law,” he said 

Louis urged Malawi Police Service (MPS) to build and maintain public trust and ensure adherence to principles of human rights in discharging their duties.

In a separate press statement Southern African Editor’s Forum (SAEF) through its Chairperson, Willie Mponda has appealed to government to educate law enforcement officers that the country has Access to Information Law which guarantees journalists to have information from different offices.

Gondwe (L) leaving South West Region Police Headquarters after being released

“SAEF would like to urge the Malawian government to educate its officials, especially law enforcement officers that it cannot be business as usual once progressive laws such as ATI that have been adopted.

“The media is an important partner as it is fourth pillar of democracy, and we ask government to create a working relationship to prevent any future media violations which threaten media freedom of the country,” the statement freads in part

Meanwhile Malawi Police Service-MPS on Wednesday returned equipment it seized from Platform for Investigative Journalist-PIJ on Tuesday.

Apart from MHRC and SAEF, media freedom defenders as well as United Kingdom and United States government have registered their concerns over Gondwe's arrest.