Two Malawian journalists were Thursday arrested in the capital, Lilongwe, a media rights body has said.
“Yes, Maxwell Ng’ambi and Chinyeke Tembo are in police custody,” said Innocent Chitosi, National Director of the National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA).
Chitosi said Ng’ambi has been charged with Criminal Trespass for sneaking into Maula Prison in the capital, Lilongwe, to interview jailed opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) executive member Sam Mpasu.
According to police, Ng’ambi – a senior reporter with the Nation publications Limited, publishers of The Nation, Weekend Nation and Nation on Sunday – sneaking into the prison disguised as a relation of Mpasus.
Mpasu was last week jailed six years for abuse of office. But Chitosi condemned what he termed as police ‘heavy-handedness’.
“We are very concerned with the way the police are handling journalists,” he said. He said “some of these issues can easily be talked over”.
Meanwhile, Tembo – who went to Lilongwe Police Station to give Ng’ambi moral support – was arreted for allegedly calling a police woman ‘beautiful’.
“Police say they will charge him with indecent assault but we are going to investigate,” he said.
Ng’ambi has since been given bail while Tembo will appear in court Friday.