Police cling to MBC 15 Journalists phones

…elderly Mustahab Ayami joins the list

…searching beyond Facebook

Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) journalists are yet to get their mobile phones from the Malawi Police Service, a week after their bosses, led by George Kasakula, reported them as “owners” of a fake Facebook page.

Kasakula reported the matter to Police

Respected Islamic scholar and religious editor at MBC Sheikh Mustahab Ayami was added to the list of suspects in a bizarre manner, causing concerns that the Facebook search was a scapegoat to target people management is uncomfortable with.

Image Source: Online

The staff have also reported receiving messages of intrusion in their Twitter and Instagram private accounts that clearly breach the search warrant obtained by Superintendent Mangani Kazembe and the search, which has yielded nothing so far.

“It is ridiculous to think 15 people, including Sheikh Ayami, would be running a single page and a week later, no single piece of evidence has been deduced. They are now embarrassed and can’t return the phones to their owners. MBC management, playing politics will cost the institution more with this intrusion,” said a lawyer consulted by those affected.

The lawyer said he has advised his clients to demand their phones back, but Police have been playing hide and seek, saying the more they delay, the more damages they will seek for unnecessary harassment and mental torture.

Another employee reported as we went to press that some unknown people went to their home to dump two phones, yet the Police claim they are keeping their phones.

“It is scary to think what they had done to those gadgets. Everyone’s confidential information has been intruded upon. I am not sure if these people will go back to work and be comfortable with the same bosses who wanted them slapped with criminal charges for no reason,” said one of the family members of the employees who have advised their kin to consider looking for another job.

A political analyst claimed the use of Police over a Facebook page was “excessive” and meant MCP was preparing to use MBC for its propaganda in the 2025 General Elections, and they were looking for ways to get rid of those deemed pro-opposition.

Bourne of contention at the state broadcaster

“The circus at MBC is the same- serving political masters and ruling parties. We hear they have recruited their boys at principal and above grades. But they couldn’t do anything for fear of what they called ‘cadets’, so this was one way of getting rid of them so they could have their own people for elections. It’s sad, after promises to reform every sector, President Chakwera and his agents seem hell-bent on following the same failed footsteps of others before him,” lamented the analyst.

A leading media activist wondered why mainstream media in Malawi was quiet about the intrusion of media confidentiality, and that reflected the type of personnel and bias towards individuals they politically dislike.

“Independent media is long gone and dead. They can’t even write about such repressive attitude towards fellow journalists,” said the retired journalist, who indicated that Reporters Without Borders and international media were covering the story while local media was looking for the other side.

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