• September 24th, 2020

Journalists’ voices on covering Covid-19

Namibia’s media spectrum is not that big but it is impactful. Behind the news published daily, are front-runners who have dedicated their time, effort and commitment to the profession to bring you, the listeners, readers and viewers news related to Covid-19 through their respective media houses.

From print to audio and visual, Youth Corner caught up with these critical essential workers to shed light on how it has been covering the pandemic, the most difficult part about it, message they have for Namibians and what you, the receiver of news should mostly be aware of as far as reporting on the pandemics is concerned since there are sometimes inconsistencies with certain information.

Tiri Masawi (34)

Freelance Journalist: Business and finance, health 

Covering the pandemic has been a learning curve where I had to learn fast because the information dynamics kept changing faster than usual. I had to stay ahead of trends and monitor extensively what is happening elsewhere in the world too.
The most difficult part for me is dispelling the proliferation of fake news and making sure government officials understand the need to give information when it’s needed without delay.

Charmaine Ngatjiheue (28)

Business journalist: The Namibian newspaper

Covering the pandemic has been interesting because one minute Namibia had no confirmed cases and then we started reporting cases. I extensively started following the first reported case and was amazed by how the government handled the whole pandemic. This also showed me just how other countries can learn a thing or two from Namibia and how the country managed to contain the virus. Kudos to the government for considering the health of Namibians. 
The difficult part is getting critical information from pivotal ministries such as finance. It comes across as though these ministries want to deliberately withhold critical information and/or censor us. Some of those who have to respond to our queries show a lot of arrogance in their responses.

Edward Mumbuu Jnr (26)

Political correspondent: Namibia Press Agency (Nampa)

So far, the coverage of Covid-19 has been relatively fine. The government is doing its best to keep the nation abreast of the happenings around the novel coronavirus through the communication centre, obviously within its limitations.
The most difficult part of it all is access to information. At the present moment, we are barred totally from asking questions during the president’s Covid-19 briefings.
To make matters worse, only a few media houses are allowed to attend these briefings, while the rest are expected to follow the discussion on the national broadcaster, It’s unfair.

Eveline Paulus (29)

Producer: Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)

Although we worry so much about family, and ourselves being at the forefront of important information is always rewarding. Also, the nation is 

well informed and taking the necessary precautions because we played our part.
The thought of getting the virus and passing it on to my beautiful kids, that to me keeps me up at night. But with regards to coverage, information has been granted to us more freely than before the outbreak. Initially, one had to struggle to get a comment from the relevant people to write a good story. The other challenge is our safety and that of our families and those close to us. Some people fear for their lives while others have simply placed their lives on the line for the greater good.

Castro Uulumbu (23)

Sports Journalist:  One Africa TV

Reporting stories on Covid-19 has been a great experience, quite frightening though as a reporter you engage with a lot of people, one never knows whom they had contact with, so just the thought of you getting it anywhere has been worrisome.
There haven’t been challenges on my side besides from keeping to the regulations in place so technical wise in the field has been the only slight challenge.

Senior Journalist (Investigative, Current Affairs and Politics): Eagle FM

Covering the pandemic has been extremely interesting. Before Namibia had many cases recorded, my focus was and has been mostly on the effects of the pandemic on the different sectors when it comes to operation and economic activity. Available information is easy to get.
I can not say there has been much trouble apart from some officials not making themselves available for responses and queries, it was rather easy to report on. I believe that the ongoing trouble the media faces with regards to access to information is the only difficulty I faced two or three times.
I fully support the plan put in place to have virtual press conferences by State House. The issue, however, was that access to the officials to ask questions was just given to one media house. This to me was a misguided representation of the media and I truly believe that it borders on censorship.
Majority of the journalists have one plea to the audience they write and anchor to. Be aware of fake information, it’s important to be cautious about what information/news we consume. Choose a credible and reliable news source and stick to that. Rather get verified information before circulating it on social media platforms.

Paheja Siririka
2020-07-01 10:16:03 | 2 months ago

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