Defiled girl story in Malawi paper wins FEI award

A story of a 12 year old girl who was impregnated by older cousins has won the Whistle Blower of the Year Award.

The story, published in The Nation newspaper, concerns a 12 year old girl, who was a sharing a room with elder cousins who took turns sexually molesting her.

The young girl did not know she had fallen pregnant, but even after finding out, she could not tell who of the cousins her impregnated her.

The story was chosen for its human interest and the fact that it is typical of stories the media would not normally be able to cover without receiving tips from whistle blowers.

A victim of defilement
A victim of defilement

Free Expression Institute introduced the award to encourage the culture of whistle blowing and to honour all those media well-wishers and concerned citizens who, upon seeing that something is not right, have gone to alert the media of the wrong, sometimes ending up with important revelations of corruption, maladministration or rights abuse.

A story of wife battering where a police constable severely beat up a wife almost causing her to lose sight was chosen in second place.

The story, published by The Sunday Times, was interesting because to involved a police officer as the perpetrator of violence, but the police chose to take no action until after publication of the story and involvement of civil society organisations.

The Freedom of Expression Awards night was organized to achive the following objectives:

·         Focus the nation’s attention on the right to freedom of expression, its significance and why we must all not only enjoy it, but also promote it and stand up to defend or protect it when it is under threat.

·         honour and pay respect to all Malawians who have died or suffered while fighting for realization of this right or while simply enjoying it.

·         highlight whatever obstacles that may exist and that could potentially make realization of free speech impossible or difficult.

It was scheduled to be held on July 20 because of the symbolic significance of the day. The event was first held last year and will continue to be held annually.


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