Rights lawyer, clergy condemns Malawi ‘bonking list’ on social media

A human rights lawyer and a church leader have condemned the release of a list of some Malawian men and women, currently circulating on the social media, labelled as promiscuous, saying it is defamatory and breach of privacy.

Last week the social network especially Facebook was awash with the circulation of a controversial list of people who have been labeled as promiscuous with some people condemning it while others supported it.

The list named the people as sex addicts. It contains names of prominent people in the society including former Miss Malawi, former Malawi News Model of the Year, models, musicians, lawyers, students and other unknown names.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, religious and human rights representatives have described the circulation of the list as inappropriate, saying there was no clear objective why somebody had to publish such list.

Dzonzi: Invasion of privacy

Human rights activist  and lawyer, Justice Dzonzi told Nyasa Times that  it is defamatory to publish such list without comprehensible justifications.

“It’s invasion of one’s privacy and defamatory to publish such list and the defence of justification will not be available,” he said.

“ The purpose of releasing such list is not known. Unless in the case where there is a clear justification and it’s authenticated by authorities, then we will say the list is serving its purpose, but as it stands, the release of such list attracts lawsuit,” Dzonzi explained.

Dzonzi then decried how some people have diverted the purpose of the social network by publicising information that is defamatory and damages other people’s reputation.

He further expressed worries with absence of legal e-communication registration to regulate the usage of internet in the country.

In other advanced countries like Britain and United States and others, there are laws controlling and policing internet to ensure people are not using it for ill or negative motives instead of using it for communication purposes.

“I can say currently we are having problems to regulate the social network due to the absence of legal registration to regulate e-communication. But am told the laws were already drafted, which means once they are adopted then, there will be sanity in the way how Malawians should use the internet,” Dzonzi added.

On its part, the religious fraternity has described the release of the list as not proper way to criticise other people’s alleged immoral character.

“As church, we feel that is not the right  way censure other people; it is not proper to make somebody feel bad because they are doing something that is against the society. As church we would love to see people change their ill ways, we aim to correct and this is what we advocate ; use right way to correct others and not condemning them publically,” said General Secretary for Blantyre Synod, Reverend Alex Maulana.

Maulana concurred with Dzonzi on the usage of social network in the country, saying internet was designed not be used to damage one’s image but as a mode of communication.

“We need to use the internet as means of communications, as mode for development and other beneficial activities and not tarnishing people’s character. It should be used to correct and reform people and not annoying them,” he said.

The Reverend has since asked those in authority to speed up the adoption of the e-communication legal registration to ensure that the social media serves its purpose.

“If not used in right way, the internet will obliterate our social, spiritual, human, economic and cultural being, swaying our nation into disaster. As God fearing people we need to find proper ways of correcting one another because sometimes the way we criticise people does not make them change but just fuel to sin more,” Maulana said.

The list which is believed to have originated from WhatsApp, a cross-platform smart phone messenger, has been circulated to thousands of internet subscribers and contains names of some prominent and celebrities in the country.

Meanwhile, there is hot debate going on some Facebook pages, as some people are condemning the list while others are of the view that it deserved to be publicised.

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