The Media Institute of Southern Africa-MISA Malawi has demanded for the disciplinary action and prosecution of Silver Strikers Football Club coach and supporters for verbally and physically assaulting journalists on Friday, August 25, 2023.
This follows the assault that happened after the Super League of Malawi (SULOM) match between the club and xtreme FC at Bingu National Stadium (BNS).
In a statement signed by MISA Chairperson Golden Matonga says the demands has after hearing reports that head Coach Hedrikus Pieter De Jong verbally attacked journalists and supporters beat up Kasupe Radio reporter, Smart Chalika.
It is reported that the first incident, De Jong verbally charged at journalists in a post-match interview, describing as “stupid” some of the questions they had asked him.
In the other incident, Silver Strikers supporters beat up Chalika for taking pictures of a scuffle between supporters of the two teams and Police officers had to rescue Chalika from the Silver Strikers’ supporters.
MISA Malawi strongly condemns De Jong and the supporters for assaulting journalists.
Football and the Super League attract public interest and they are themselves public ventures.
“Silver Strikers Football Club is also funded by public funds. BNS is a public stadium and journalists have a right to access information in the interest of the public.
“This is not the first time Coach De Jong has verbally attacked critics as he is not usually tolerant of critical questions about his team’s performance”.Reads part of the statement.
According to the statement MISA Malawi is asking authorities at Silver Strikers, SULOM and Football Association of Malawi(FAM) to take disciplinary action on De Jong and Silver Strikers supporters.
“We also ask the Malawi Police Service to investigate and prosecute the supporters who assaulted Chalika at BNS. Assaulting someone is a criminal offence.
“Assaulting a journalist is even more serious. Such an attack instills fear in the journalist as an individual and the profession as a sector and such actions also limit the public’s right to know”.Adds the statement.
MISA Malawi has then called upon sports authorities and supporters to always respect and uphold media freedom saying Journalism is not a crime.
Meanwhile MISA Malawi has encouraged individuals who have any issues with journalists to approach the organization’s directly or contact relevant media organizations instead of resorting to any form of aggression towards journalists.
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