Rights lawyer faults Malawi on free expression

Freedom of expression may be guaranteed in the Malawi Constitution, but it is still not being fully enjoyed by the country’s citizens, a human rights lawyer has said.

Lawyer, Habiba Osman told a radio programme on Trans World Radio that Malawi has made positive changes from what the situation used to be during the reign of Malawi Congress Party by among other things making provision in the constitution to guarantee free expression, but enjoyment of this right is still with a lot of restrictions.

“Though the law makes clear provision for free expression in Section 35 of the Malawi Constitution, we have seen that in practice, people who want to exercise this right face numerous restrictions like a lack of protection from police or sometimes being prevented from enjoying the right by police action,” Osman said.

Osman observed that the right to free expression is not absolute and that it has to be balanced against other rights such as the right not to be offended.

“The right to free expression should be protected by the general principal of liberty and should be constrained by non-aggressive principle,” Osman said.

The journalists in Malawi, despite facig challenges, are determined to practice their profession to the letter.

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