MZUZU--A seasoned journalist has described the arrest of Malawi Voice's online editor, Justice Mponda, as "scary" and an "action that is likely to move the journalism profession in the country backwards."
The journalist, who asked not to be named, has since asked government to release Mponda and to sort the out the issue amicably.
Mponda, 27, was arrested by heavily armed police officers in the early hours of Monday at his Chiwembe residence in Blantyre for "insulting the president, publishing false stories and criminal libel."
Speaking in an interview with MaraPost, the journalist "by using heavily armed personnel, the police wanted to frighten more journalists who always stand up to challenge mishaps in the government. And I am sure the government has just achieved just that. This is bad for the trade [journalism profession] in the country."
He went on: "Why did they use all that force? Why? Are we going back to the one party era? Or does government want us to be living in fear as we were doing during the Bingu wa Mutharika's administration?"
According to the journalist, Mponda's arrest is a "sign that things are not okay" in the current administration. He said that the action has "painted black" Joyce Banda's administration and added that "he was very pessimistic if this issue will die out quickly."
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