International Press Institute condemns threats against Gregory Gondwe for exposing corruption in the supply of military equipment – goes into hiding

By Burnett Munthali

_…Protecting journalists and independent journalism is a concern for all._

The International Press Institute (IPI) global network has condemned 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 that he is currently in hiding and fearing for his life.

In the wake of his second exposure regarding Zuneth Sattar and the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Gondwe finds himself in a dangerous. Some Military sources, have advised Gregory Gondwe to go into hiding. Some top government officials have equally confirmed that the MDF intend to arrest Gondwe for what they claim ‘endangering state security’ — what state security are they lying about?

Journalists in danger

The range of threats journalists are confronted with include murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, offline and online harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture. What Gregory Gondwe is experiencing today is an example of intimidation, planned disappearances, staged detention. This is another example of corruption fighting back.

Other threats against journalists, online and off-line, continue to grow, especially in non-conflict zones. Journalist imprisonment is at a record high, while online violence – particularly against women journalists – and harassment spurs on self-censorship and, in some cases, physical attacks.

Generally, we see journalists killed for covering corruption, corruption, particularly in local politics. Local journalists are incredibly vulnerable. They often don’t have the protections afforded to them by working for a big national media outlet. Covering protests can be fatal. I can rightly say that the intention here is to get journalists get killed for covering corruption stories, particularly involving top and powerful or influential politicians.

Working as a journalist is very risky. Additionally, journalists face an increasingly hostile digital environment, often tolerating intimidation, threats of physical and sexual harm and abuse, and ‘doxing’ – having their private information published online. These dangers disproportionately fall on female journalists and journalists of colour. The unfortunate story of Gregory Gondwe is purely intimidation coming from government side by government.

Gregory Gondwe

Safety of journalists

Journalists around the world are increasingly being targeted or killed for their work. But journalism is not a crime.

International Media Support (IMS) defends the rights of journalists and works to ensure that they can operate safely in countries where journalists are harassed or attacked for doing their job or where conflict increases thei dangers of covering stories.
As part of IMS work to support the building of national safety mechanisms for journalists with buy-in from local, national and international partners when possible, the approach to safety for journalists combines specialist safety training with practical safety measures and advocacy for safer media working environments.

The IMS safety package includes: Training in: Risk analysis and threat mitigating, first aid, secure communications, conflict sensitive journalism, media laws and code of conduct etc.

Practical measures: 24/7 hotlines, safe houses, safety fund, safety equipment, legal assistance, emergency assistance etc.

Advocacy: Monitoring of attacks and threat levels, coordination of international support, development of guides and handbooks, engagement of governments in the protection of journalists through better laws and understanding of the role of journalists, facilitating dialogues between security forces and media to further mutual understanding etc.
Our work is aligned with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity, a worldwide framework aiming to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, both in conflict and non-conflict situations.


In conclusion, journalists should be protected. Without the work of independent journalists providing us with reliable information, who would report on issues of public interest, denounce wrongdoings, social inequalities and unpunished crimes? Protecting journalists and independent journalism is not only a concern for journalists. It’s a concern for all.