LILONGWE: Malawi Human Rights Commission chairperson John Kapito says human rights defenders in Malawi are living dangerously although playing a significant role in their rights campaign.

Mr. Kapito said this when he contributed during a Zodiak Broadcasting Station live debate on whether social media and human rights defenders are relevant and significant in Malawi’s democracy.

He said authorities in Malawi seem determined to blame the media for all their mishaps an equivalent of training guns on the messenger who is only relaying information across.

The Malawi human rights defenders hailed citizens for increasingly opting to use social media on the Internet and the numerous web-based interactive news media such as zodiak online.

The MHRC chairperson in Malawi thinks a devil is moving about in the country ready and eager to kill “our human rights”. He said because of this Malawians have to stand firm an fight.

Human rights lawyer Habiba Osman of Norwegian Church AID said “it is very important to have social media especially Facebook” saying she had to post an alert on Facebook page when she was arrested alongside four other activists for displaying a banner in Lilongwe.

The banner read “President Bingu wa Mutharika is a dictator.”

Chairperson of National Association of Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA) Anthony Kasunda said there is no longer monopoly from government on disseminating of information, saying citizen journalism is the new phenomenon as people tend to tweet on Twitter, post on Facebook, broadcast on YouTube and upload information on blog and online media.

Mr. Kasunda said the government is busy scouting for ways and means of thwarting the media especially online publications.

He said he has himself has been approached by a senior cabinet minister in the Bingu wa Mutharika administration asking for advice on how government could regulate online media. – Zodiak

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