Malayalis are renowned for their conservative views and the Malaysia Women’s Weekly is an important and influential magazine for the Malayan diaspora.
In 2016, the Malawian government began a campaign to censor Malayali-language magazines and online media outlets.
In response, the magazine’s owner, Malayalee-American writer, and former president, Malayan Nationalist Party (BNP) politician, Malawainan-American journalist, and journalist Ananth Muralidharan, founded the Malaya Women’s Journalist Collective.
The Collective publishes Malayalayalam-language and Malayamalam-English articles, as well as a collection of Malayan-language newspapers.
Malayalam Weekly is also known for its editorial stance against the government’s efforts to control the Malawi media sector, which it describes as a government-controlled media.
In its 2016 Annual Report, the Collective stated: “We call on the government to uphold the rights of all Malay and Malayan people to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of the press.”
In 2016 and 2017, the Government of the Republic of Malawi (GRM) issued a decree that allowed media outlets in Malawi to publish content they deemed to be in the public interest.
In a recent press release, the GRM stated:”The GRM has been in dialogue with media entities in order to address their concerns, and to work towards the goal of a fair and just media environment.”
In 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) also called for the immediate and unconditional release of journalists and their families detained by the Government in Malambas struggle against the BNP.
In addition, the UN Human Rights Committee, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament issued statements expressing concern over the situation in Malavian media.
Malawian journalist Anuja Lekker, who is also a former member of the Malabar Women’s Forum, has been imprisoned since April 2017.
She has been held in solitary confinement for more than a year without access to food, water or medical care.
On June 15, 2017, Lekkar was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “inciting sedition” and “incitement to commit acts of terrorism” in relation to her criticism of the BNPP.
She was also sentenced to seven years in jail for “subversive activity” for allegedly “spreading propaganda”.
In August 2017, a court in the city of Paphos issued a decision that Lekkers sentencing had been “deliberately calculated”.
In an affidavit, the court stated: “Lekker’s sentence is unjust because of the gravity of her crimes, her extreme political views, and her participation in the protest movement against the Nationalists.”
In June 2018, Likkers family was ordered to pay a $4.6 million bail after the court ruled that the family had no “good cause” for paying bail.
In an article in The Straits Times, Lakker’s sister-in-law, Jitka Tiwari, explained that Likker’s imprisonment was part of the campaign against her and her family.
Lekers brother, Anushka, was sentenced on July 1, 2018 to 10-15 years in federal prison.
Likks father, M. R. L. Keshubraman, was also released on bail.
The case against Lekks father is the first of its kind.
In November 2018, a judge sentenced Lekki to life in prison without parole for “delivering false news and false information” and was also ordered to give her mother a two-year suspended sentence.
Laks father was also charged with “incitation to commit sedition and inciting acts of terrorist activity”.
The court also ruled that Lokks sentence of 10 years was excessive and unconstitutional.
Lokkis family has also filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Malaysia against the GRMP.
The case is currently pending.
Lekkys mother was also awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote and protect human rights and human dignity in Malay.
In October 2018, The Strait Times reported that Lukkis father was being investigated for inciting “acts of terror” in a campaign he called “Malay Independence Day.”
The prosecution alleged that Lakkys father was inciting the “separatists” to “break the law” to protest the government.
In a March 2018 interview with The Straith Times, Anuha Nizam, the wife of Lekkis eldest son, said her family is now fighting for justice.
“It is very important for us to see our family, our children, their future.
For us, we cannot wait