- Malawi to Clampdown on Pornography
Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, July 5, 2000) - The
censorship board in Malawi has said it will deploy its officials on the country's
border posts to ensure that pornographic materials are prevented from entering
Chief censoring officer Geofrey Kanyinji said Tuesday that the board will start
by deploying censoring officers on the Malawi/Tanzania Songwe River Border.
"We have decided to start with this particular border post because a lot of
pornographic material trickle into Malawi through here," he said.
Kanyinji said the board wants to clamp down on pornographic material because,
according to him, they are the cause of child abuse and the rampant spread of
The board has meanwhile taken a video operator in Blantyre to court for
showing pornographic films to underage children.
But human rights activists have condemned the board's high-handedness, saying
it violates the fundamental human rights of people.
Seodi White, a human rights lawyer, said rummaging people's luggage in search
of pornographic videos would be a serious rights violation.
"The board should concentrate on dealing with people who show pornographic
films to children and not searching everybody else," she said.
While admitting that people have a right to make decisions on what they watch,
Kanyinji said some people buy pornographic films out of ignorance.
"We should therefore control trafficking of these things in the country, " he said.
Journalist threatened; Minister threatens to sue two
The Media Institute of Southern Africa
July 3, 2000
Windhoek - A group of people on June 26 went to the house of reporter Don
Kulapani from the "Chronicle" newspaper and demanded to see the journalist, who
was not around at the time.
The group of four people, who according to the "Chronicle" were believed to
members of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party, left after being
convinced that Kulapani was not home, but promised to return to deal with him for
writing what they described as nonsense. "Some of these stupid journalists have
to be taught a lesson that they must respect the Government. If he wants to be
popular he will be popular in his grave," one of the group was reported to have said.
The visit followed an article penned by Kulapani which reported on UDF supporters
who had gone to Lilongwe International Airport and beat up an employee whom
they said was an opposition MCP/Aford Alliance party supporter and talked bad
about the President.
Commenting on the threats against him, Kulapani said he was not scared and
could not be intimidated. "What I am doing is serving the nation. I would rather be
killed by exposing the truth than to be a praise singer journalist," Kulapani was
quoted as saying.
In a separate but related development, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Public
Works, Iqbal Omar, has threatened to sue the "Chronicle" and "Daily Times"
newspapers because he says they report negatively on him.
During a break in a parliamentary session on June 30, Omar requested to see any
journalists from the two papers concerned. None were present, and Omar went on
to inform other journalists present that he wanted to sue the "Chronicle" and "Daily
Times" for always writing bad about me.
It's believed the article in the "Chronicle" that had raised Omar's ire, concerned his
visit to the Lilongwe International Airport, where he reportedly declared that the
place was full of Tumbukas [who come from the northern part of Malawi]. It's
believed his utterances had led to the alleged politically- motivated attack on an
employee there. The "Daily Times" was apparently targeted because of an article
reporting on an exchange in parliament where Omar was criticised by opposition
members of parliament for showing off as a millionaire.
- But good info for my childhoods class which will be doing projects on child labor. Maybe having the info will spur people to change things. I still hold out hope...How's the home solar project??KCOn Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Christine Chumbler <wartpiggy@...> wrote:
Nothing to be proud of here, I'm afraid.
Malawi's child tobacco pickers 'poisoned by nicotine'Aug 24 2009 07:05Children in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, an investigation has found.
Child labourers as young as five are suffering severe health problems from a daily skin absorption of up to 54mg of dissolved nicotine, according to the international children's organisation Plan.
Malawian tobacco is found in the blend of almost every cigarette smoked in the West. The low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco is often used as a filler by manufacturers, reflecting a long-term global shift in production.
Tobacco farms in America declined by 89% between 1954 and 2002. Three-quarters of production has migrated to developing countries, with Malawi the world's fifth biggest producer.
Seventy percent of its export income comes from tobacco and the country is economically dependent on it.
Plan cites research showing that Malawi has the highest incidence of child labour in Southern Africa, with 88,9% of five to 14-year-olds working in the agricultural sector. It is estimated that more than 78 000 children work on tobacco estates -- some up to 12 hours a day, many for less than 1p an hour and without protective clothing.
Plan's researchers invited 44 children from tobacco farms in three districts to take part in a series of workshops. They revealed a catalogue of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and spoke about the need to work to support themselves and their families and pay school fees.
The children reported common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS), or nicotine poisoning, including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness.
"Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough breath, you don't have enough oxygen," one child said. "You reach a point where you cannot breathe because of the pain in your chest. Then the blood comes when you vomit. At the end, most of this dies and then you remain with a headache."
GTS is a common hazard of workers coming into contact with tobacco leaves and absorbing nicotine through their skin, particularly when harvesting. It is made worse by humid and wet conditions, which are prevalent in Malawi, as residual moisture on the leaves helps nicotine to be absorbed quicker.
Everyday symptoms of GTS are more severe in children than adults as they have not built up a tolerance to nicotine through smoking and because of their physical size. There is a lack of research into the long-term effects of GTS in children, but experts believe that it could seriously impair their development.
Neal Benowitz, professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences at California University in San Francisco, said: "Numerous animal studies have shown that administration of nicotine during infancy and adolescence produces long-lasting changes in brain structure and function, as well as behavioural changes that are not seen when nicotine is administered to adults.
"The brain of a child or adolescent is particularly vulnerable to adverse neurobehavioural effects of nicotine exposure."
Plan called on Malawi's government to enforce existing child labour and protection laws and on plantations to provide safer, fairer working conditions for those children forced to work. It demanded that multinational tobacco companies scrutinise their suppliers far more closely and follow their own corporate responsibility guidelines.
Macdonald Mumba, Plan Malawi's child rights adviser, said: "This research shows that tobacco estates are exploiting and abusing children who have a right to a safe working environment.
"Plan is calling for better enforcement of child labour laws and harsher punishment for employers who break them. These children are risking their health for 11p a day." - guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009
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