WINDHOEK - President Hage Geingob on Friday implored media practitioners in the country to play a central role in deepening democracy, unity and social cohesion.
Geingob made this call in a statement on World Press Freedom Day. World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3 May every year.
The day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of the profession.
Following a recommendation by Unesco in December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.
President Geingob, in a statement by press secretary Dr Alfredo Hengari, said: “As the fourth estate, the press is a core partner in our governance architecture.
In that vein, it has an important role to play in promoting development, buttressing our unity and democracy.”
“In this age of disinformation, and a year of elections in several African countries, including Namibia, I am pleased to note that events will convene under the theme of ‘Journalism and Elections in times of Disinformation’,” he added.
Namibia recently restored its position as Africa’s best in press freedom by moving to the first position on the continent. The country had lost the top position to Ghana last year.
The Namibia is now ranked 23rd globally out of 180 countries.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day was celebrated under the theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”.
Geingob said the potential of the press to deepen accountability and trust should be harnessed by quality journalism that informs citizens on the basis of facts.
He according to Hengari emphasised commitment to greater accountability and informed in his State of the Nation Address on 17 April 2019, that the Namibian government would table in Parliament an Access to Information Bill this year.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa recently reaffirmed the government’s “unwavering” commitment to press freedom and the expression of free speech.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology said last week Thursday, that it will next week host a symposium to mark World Press Freedom Day.
A media statement issued by the ministry said the symposium is slated for tomorrow at the Namibia University of Science and Technology and is open to the public.
The ministry said the symposium will focus on sub-themes such as how the digital era is affecting electoral communications, new attempts to undermine the media’s role in democracy and the media’s potential to contribute to a culture of sustainable peace and democracy.
“This day will provide a platform to assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom while defending the media from attacks on their independence, as well as pay tribute to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the press being the fourth estate of government, the media continues to be a key partner in enhancing democracy and promoting the socio-economic well-being of Namibians.
“The Namibian Constitution provides for freedom of the press as enshrined in Chapter 3, Article 21 which states that ‘All person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of press and other media’,” it said.
2019-05-06 08:46:03 13 days ago