While the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day, the Namibian government is saddened after it was dropped as the country with the freest press on the African continent.
Ghana is the new trendsetter as far as media freedom is concerned on the continent.
“It is sad that our country has lost its position on the African Continent as a champion for Media freedom in the just released 2018 Press freedom rankings by the Reporters without Borders, we commit ourselves to objectively analyze the reasons for such a decline and further devise an appropriate intervention strategy with the indulgence of all stake holders so as to reclaim our number one spot on the continent,” said Information and Communications minister Stanley Simataa yesterday.
Simataa attempted to allay any doubts cast on government’s level of tolerance and appreciation for the media by indicating that government will not impede the operations of the media.
“Our government willingness and commitment to work with the media is part of our country’s implementation acceleration plan, the (Harambee Prosperity Plan) and this is a clear testimony that the Namibian Government values the Media as close partners and allies in the development of our country,” said the minister.
He added: “We can only be a better nation and a better world for all if everyone’s right including that of the media is guaranteed, however we are cognizant of the fact that in spite of our achievement in advocating the Media freedom more still needs to be done, we can therefore not be complacent. It is against this background that we have been working tirelessly in collaboration with stakeholders to expedite the enactment of Access to Information legislation, once enacted this legal framework will consolidate our foothold as one of the countries in the world with truly empowered citizens.
The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on behalf of the entire Namibian government have taken the opportunity to wish the Media in Namibia and beyond a Happy and progressive celebration of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day that was celebrated yesterday,” he said. Simataa said government has taken note of the unwavering and the unbreakable spirit of journalists.
“Despite the challenges they face, the media has continued to act as a relenting voice for the voiceless in its toil to expose corruption practices and administrative malpractices, which if not exposed could be detrimental to the growth of the society,” he said.
“Equally we are also conscious of the reality that for this role to be fulfilled, the Media needs a favorable and policy and a legal environment, which exist as stipulated in our constitution, the Namibian government which fully subscribe to the ‘Windhoek Declaration’ a framework that we cherish so much not because of its key durable principles but because its birth in Windhoek, places Namibia a beacon of press freedom” he said.
Simataa reiterated government’s commitment to the defence and protection of journalists in Namibia and beyond.
“We do this by asserting our willingness to interact with the Media and allow for recognition of the rule of the law that governs the operations of journalists in our country.”