CIVICUS calls on the Malawian authorities to immediately release Vitus-Gregory Gondwe, a journalist and activist based in Malawi, for his work that exposes government corruption and urges Malawian authorities to act against individuals involved in corruption.
Vitus-Gregory Gondwe was abducted on 20 July 2020 from his home in Harare by security agents for refusing to disclose sources relating to a story he published on his Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) regarding the abuse of office by Malawi's Inspector-General of Police, George Kainja. While the strong gestures and initiatives initiated by the new Malawian government to stop corruption are commendable, it is time to protect those actors that are working to realise these initiatives.
The arrest and detention of Vitus-Gregory Gondwe threaten press freedom and independent media as a foundation of democratic and accountable governance in Malawi. All governments must protect the right to freedom of expression and information. Corruption undermines the fundamental values of human dignity, equality, and freedom of all.
"CIVICUS condemns the intimidation by the Malawian authorities, which takes the form of kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, and illegal detentions of innocent journalists and media workers. We demand a quick, fair, and independent investigation to bring to book concerned people who continue to commit inhumane acts and blatantly violate the rights of journalists and activists". Paul Mulindwa, CIVICUS Advocacy and Campaigns Officer.
We call on the government of Malawi to:
- Immediately and unconditionally drop all alleged cases against Vitus-Gregory Gondwe.
- Stop all forms of harassment and victimisation of the person of Vitus-Gregory Gondwe.
- Respect and protect the press freedom and rights to citizens' freedom of expression.
- Create an enabling environment for civil society organisations to operate by removing restrictions and threats on the right to freedom of expression to ensure civil society, activists, and citizens can express themselves without fear of reprisals.