WINDHOEK - The Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) conferred posthumously a media award on Jamal Khashoggi during the recent journalism excellence event held in Windhoek.
The Saudi who was slain in 2018 became the fifth recipient of the Windhoek Declaration Scroll, conferred on the day he was murdered and a month before the world observed the International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November.
Khashoggi an investigative journalist, columnist and editor of several independent newspapers was recognized for being a strong advocate for free media expression in the Arab world where there are severe restrictions on freedom of expression.
The award was received on Khashoggi’s behalf by Safa Al Ahmad, the investigative journalist and filmmaker who described his death as world awakening.
He said the world had finally woken up to Saudi Arabia and the U.S. government’s human rights violations in Yemen.
“Much will be said about Khashoggi’s life. But I must say that his death has made the death of thousands of Yemenis more visible,’’ stated Al Ahmad. He added that because of his death, everyone seems to have woken up to the flagrant violations of human rights by the Saudis war in Yemen.
Gwen Lister a Namibian publisher and press freedom activist who handed over the Scroll to Ahmad described 2018 as the deadliest year for journalists as 79 perished in pursuit of their craft. She said Khashoggi’s death not only stood out because of its severity and savagery with which it was carried out but also its brazen execution. Minister of Information and Communication Technology (Mict) Stanley Simataa also remembered Khashoggi saying that he had paid the ultimate price for doing what he loved doing best - that is to report the facts as they presented themselves.
The Namibia Media Trust (NMT) has joined the call of 19 other civil society organizations worldwide that are urging Saudi Arabia to accept the recommendations of the UN Special rapporteur for a transparent and independent investigation into Khashoggi’s killing.
Other awardees include the first recipients, former editor of The Namibian and a surviving co-chair of the 1991 Unesco African editors’ conference, Gwen Lister in 2016. The second award went to the EFN’s founding Media Ombudsman Clement Daniels, while the Eswatini Editor of The Nation Bheki Makhubu received the third award in 2017. The South African Author of the book The President’s Keepers, Jacques Pauw was the fourth recipient in 2018.
Lister challenged Namibia as a country seeking to attain greater heights in the area of freedom of expression to speak out against impunity.
“If I could be granted one wish, it would be that our government which prides itself on our number one spot in Africa on press freedom would break with silence and speak out when these rights are violated elsewhere on the continent and the rest of the world,” Lister remarked.
She warns that if the voices of journalists are suppressed, the free expression rights of others too will be censored.
The Unesco representative to Namibia, Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum earlier urged Namibia to act on the UN General Assembly Resolution 72/175 on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.
He said it was important for the Namibian government to invest in sustaining such an environment, setting up national protection mechanisms and formulating recommendations to strengthen the education curricula of the judiciary and police officers.
2019-11-14 08:28:45 | 24 days ago