Newly appointed defence minister Frans Kapofi has advised media practitioners to avoid concentrating on “juicy stories” that sell their papers as such stories always create tension among people.
Kapofi said in an interview with New Era last Thursday that journalists as professionals should make a judgement call on whether what is being said by sources is in “good or bad taste”, and avoid publishing news in bad taste but to rather concentrate on news focusing on nation-building.
“As professional journalists, you should have a judgement on whether what is being said by sources is good or bad, and reserve publishing bad things to avoid creating tension between people,” he reiterated.
He said this while responding to a recent newspaper article where he allegedly accused his predecessor at home affairs, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, of being the cause of the current problems facing the ministry.
In the interview, Kapofi denied ever having made such remarks, adding that even if he had, the journalist should have avoided publishing such remarks as it was in bad taste.
“For example, things that I allegedly said about my predecessor is something that I think she has not taken very kindly, unfortunately. As a professional journalist, you should have judged that this may not be a good thing to say even, if someone had said it,” the minister continued.
Kapofi is quoted in Namibian Sun as saying Iivula-Ithana’s work in the ministry was “artificial”. He also said “so much money was used to acquire systems that were rushed and immediately collapsed as soon as they were implemented”.
According to Kapofi, “her much-trumpeted, perceived success was not sustainable in the long run.”
The newspaper was contacted for a response.
“Minister Kapofi and I have a good working relationship. I think we both are excelling in our respective domains, and that’s what Namibia should be about. No one should be apologetic about their work,” said Toivo Ndjebela, editor of Namibian Sun when approached for comment on Kapofi’s advice.
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ turnaround strategy was implemented in May 2014, and resulted in faster turnaround times, shorter queues and improved customer service at the government department.
The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index has rated Namibia as Africa›s best-ranked country on media freedom since 2019. The report says press freedom has a firm hold in Namibia, and enjoys solid guarantees. It is protected by the Constitution, and is often defended by the courts when under attack from other quarters within the state or by vested interests.