As much as I view myself as a full Namibian patriot, today I am talking of another Patriot, one that looks to challenge my level of patriotism to this wonderful nation. Newspapers are one of the world’s oldest forms of communication. In fact, the first media industry outlived many other industries and it can be traced all the way back to 59 B.C. when the Roman Acta Diuma was distributed. With that said, I now have the pleasure to introduce to you The Patriot, patriotic in the sense that maintaining balance and fairness directs our every move. As The Patriot, we take a personal interest in matters that affect the African continent. As such, we provide space for a new narrative on Namibia- one that tells the stories of human triumph notwithstanding the challenges and solutions found as stakeholders work together and speaking to a culture where everyone deserves to be heard. The Patriot is a sister publication of a publication that operates under the same name in Botswana, therefore, in the spirit of togetherness in the SADC region. This young, vibrant and dynamic patriotic team is keen to promote the agenda of unity and nationhood through ‘balanced and fair reporting’.
The question many of you will be asking is, on which side of the divide is this new media house, is it pro-Government or anti-Government? Our position is one premised on neutrality, that of saying things the way they are and not the way we want them to be. Media freedom is provided for in the Constitution, but despite such provision, such freedom must not be used to trample on the rights of others. The might of the pen must never be underestimated but it must also not be abused by those holding the pen. The staff The Patriot desires to bring to you news in the best possible manner. They say good news does not, funny enough, when we achieve something great in our personal capacities we are quick to break the news to others because shared joy is much more sweeter than celebrating on your own. We share the good and hide the bad. Strangely in the media world it is the other way round, the good is hidden and the bad is shared.
It is time that modern scribes change that notion and give equal prominence to both perceived good and bad news. The affairs of the country cannot be run in newspapers, this is a common notion in African Governments, but as citizens we also say “the country’s affairs cannot be run in boardrooms because we cannot tolerate a situation where things are decided for us without us.” Many continue to argue that the advent of technology has thrown print media into ICU, my argument is contrary. An avid reader will certainly tell you that they would rather read a book or a newspaper while holding it in their hands instead of reading it online.
There is something special about the feel of a newspaper in your hands that makes the words come alive because there is a sense of ownership to the information-filled publication in your hand. I view the internet age as one that came about to compliment the print media by linking reporters to the entire world. After all, most of the information found on the internet and online platforms was derived from newspapers and books written centuries ago. Like the wise man says: “Forget where you are going but not where you are coming.”
As we prepare to celebrate independence on Monday, I wish all Namibians a happy 26th birthday.