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Released on: April 10, 2024

Journalist Macmillan Mhone ARRESTED for corruption story

Police in Malawi have arrested online journalist Macmillan Mhone over a story he published in August 2023 about businessman Abdul Karim Batatawala.

Batatawala is accused of defrauding the Malawi government of about 1,5 billion Kwacha and laundering about 2,5 billion Kwacha by conspiring with government officials through dubious contracts.

Mhone was charged with ‘publication of news likely to cause fear and public alarm’.

MISA Malawi Chairperson Golden Matonga expressed surprise over the arrest of the journalist, saying the article does not in any way cause fear or public alarm.

The media body called for immediate release of the journalist saying his detention is a violation of media freedom and the public’s right to information.

The journalist appeared in court on Tuesday 9 April 2024 and has since been released on bail. However, MISA Malawi calls on authorities to drop all charges levelled against him.

Mhone’s arrest comes barely two months after another online investigative journalist, Gregory Gondwe, fled the country after publishing a story regarding dubious dealings by some top military officials in the country.

“It is only those accused of corruption who will suffer ‘fear and alarm’,” said the Campaign for Free Expression’s (CFE’s) Anton Harber.

“Mhone is being persecuted for doing his job. We must reiterate: journalism is not a crime. Corruption is, and it is in the public interest to expose it. We call for all charges to be dropped and the repeal of a law that criminalises journalism.”

Angela Mkandawire, CFE Correspondent
+265 888 58 99 63

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