The IPI global network condemns threats against Malawi investigative journalist Gregory Gondwe by the Malawi Defence Forces after he published an investigation exposing corruption in the supply of military equipment. 

Gondwe, who works with the Platform for Investigative Journalism in Malawi, said yesterday that he is currently in hiding and fearing for his life.

 “In the wake of my second exposé concerning Zuneth Sattar and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), I find myself in a perilous situation”, Gondwe posted on his Facebook page on February 1. “Military sources, the same ones who urged me to shed light on the happenings within the army, have now advised me to go into hiding. This isn’t just about legal threats, which I was prepared to face head-on. Yesterday, top government officials confirmed that the MDF intended to ‘arrest’ me for allegedly ‘endangering state security’ — a vague and ominous accusation.”

Nompilo Simanje, IPI’s Africa Advocacy and Partnerships Lead, called on authorities in Malawi to guarantee the safety of Gregory Gondwe and ensure that press freedom is respected and protected in the country. 

“IPI stands in solidarity with journalists and press freedom organizations in Malawi calling on the military to cease this attempt to silence critical media”, she said. “Journalists, as the fourth estate, have a responsibility to investigate and expose corruption as part of their watchdog role, and they should not be threatened, harassed, or intimidated for undertaking their professional duties.”

“Journalists should be allowed to do their work without fear of reprisals,” she added. 

Gondwe has been targeted in the past. In April 2022, the police raided the offices of the Platform for Investigative Journalism and confiscated Gondwe’s computers and phones. Gondwe was also arrested and the police demanded that he reveal his sources. 

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Malawi Chapter) said: “The threats on Gondwe’s life have a chilling effect on journalists and the media fraternity. As a democracy, Malawi should not slide back to the era of heavy-handedness on media and critical voices.”