Malawian minister assaults broadcast journalist

Bodyguards for Economic, Planning and Development Minister Ralph Jooma assaulted Raphael Mlozoa, journalist for the private Zodiak Broadcasting Station, on August 25, 2013, in the southern town of Mangochi, according to news reports. The minister accused Mlozoa of false reporting and ordered his security staff to confront Mlozoa, the reports said.

The minister objected to a story by Mlozoa and other news outlets that claimed Mangochi Muslims praying at a local mosque attacked Jooma on August 24. Jooma had allegedly attempted to retrieve a camera confiscated by the Muslim community after the state broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, started filming without notice inside the mosque, according to local journalists and news reports. Jooma claims the story was factually inaccurate.

Jooma accused the Zodiak Broadcasting Station journalist of falsely reporting that members of the Mangochi Mosque had assaulted him, and ordered his bodyguards to drag him to a local police station, where he was detained only briefly, according to news reports. Mlozoa suffered a minor injury and received treatment at Mangochi District Hospital, the Media Institute of Southern Africa reported.