Misa worried with MBC’s seizure of laptops and phones of its journalists

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Africa-Press – Malawi. MISA Malawi says it is concerned with the seizure of mobile phones and laptops belonging to Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists who are being suspected of running a fake MBC Facebook page.

In a statement released today and signed by chairperson Golden Matonga, Misa says it has established that a number of MBC journalists are being investigated for alleged offenses committed under the Electronic Transactions and Cybersecurity Act following a complaint by MBC Management.

“MISA Malawi has spoken to MBC Management which says the police are conducting the investigation independently and the Management has not provided any names of journalists to be subjected to the investigation,” reads the statement.

However, Matonga says MISA Malawi is concerned because the development raises a number of serious questions.

“Police have confiscated mobile phones and laptops from a number of MBC journalists across the country. The question is; how are these journalists being identified?

“What measures have been put in place to ensure that the identity of the sources of these journalists is protected? Correspondence between journalists and their sources is privileged information under Section 32(c) of the Access to Information (ATI) Act.

“What about private and confidential personal information of these journalists? How safe is their private information that is on the mobile phones and laptops that the police have confiscated?” Said Matonga.

Matonga added that while Malawi Police Service has every right to use lawful means to investigate any matter and MBC has a right to ensure its corporate identity is not abused, we are concerned with how the journalists in question have been identified as possible culprits.

“We are also concerned with the potential victimisation of innocent journalists. Without claiming immunity, the investigative process should be conducted sincerely and without abusing or torturing employees.

“We emphasize that we do not condone any criminal activities involving journalists. However, during investigations, it is crucial for the police to respect the right to privacy and confidentiality of journalists and sources.

“If innocent, the affected journalists would have suffered mental torture, have their privacy violated and their sources and contacts compromised,” said Matonga.

MISA Malawi has since called upon MBC management and Malawi Police Service to carry out the investigations without any malice, prejudice or political inclinations.

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