Britain launches ‘UK in Malawi’ Facebook page

The British High Commission in Lilongwe  has launched a ‘UK in Malawi’ page on Facebook, the popular social networking website.

The page  http://www.facebook.com/pages/UK-in-Malawi/101098433331848 was launched on Friday to coincide with events to celebrate international human rights day  on 10 December.

This year, the day is commemorated under the theme “The Transformational Role of Social Media Celebrating Human Rights – Social Media and Human Rights”.

The Embassy said the launch of the Facebook page  is part of the British High Commission’s wider digital diplomacy and communication strategy in Malawi.

Facebook page picture: Charge d'Affaires Kirk Hollingsworth presenting a certificate to a participant at Malawi Armed forces College (MAFCO) in September 2011.

Commenting on the launch, Charge d Affaires at the British High Commission, Mr Kirk Hollingsworth said social media has a huge impact on strengthening democratic governance and national development.

A statement made available to Nyasa Times by British Embassy’s  leader in Political and Public AffairsSection, Lewis Kulisewa, said social media is a useful tool for promoting and protecting human rights.

“A free media and freedom of opinion and expression are integral to ensuring that citizens can exercise their full democratic rights and promote and protect the rights of others,” Hollingsworth said.

“The UK in Malawi facebook page will utilise the transformational power of social media to promote the free flow of information – an essential part of good governance – which gives people the ability to have a meaningful say in their own lives and in the affairs of their society,” he added.

Hollingsworth cited events in the Arab spring earlier this year, which culminated in the removal of unpopular and undemocratic regimes, as the best example of the transformational power of social media.

“Events in North Africa and the Middle East demonstrate an important lesson – that restricting the media and seeking to ignore popular concern does not work. Governments need to respond to legitimate aspirations with reform and not repression,” he said.

The UK diplomat said encouraging an open and effective press will only help improve the environment for long term social, political and economic stability.

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