For immediate release
Saturday, August 26, 2023
MISA Malawi demands disciplinary action and prosecution of Silver Strikers Football Club coach and supporters for verbally and physically assaulting journalists on Friday, August 25, 2023.
The assault happened after the Super League of Malawi (SULOM) match between the club and Extreme FC at Bingu National Stadium (BNS).
Head Coach Hedrikus Pieter De Jong verbally attacked journalists and supporters beat up Kasupe Radio reporter, Smart Chalika.
In 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. 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.
MISA Malawi would like to ask 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. Such actions also limit the public’s right to know.
MISA Malawi calls on sports authorities and supporters to always respect and uphold media freedom. Journalism is not a crime.
We encourage individuals who have any issues with journalists to approach us directly or contact relevant media organisations instead of resorting to any form of aggression towards journalists.
Chairperson, MISA Malawi
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