Participants at the World Press Freedom Day have called on governments to commit to creating positive enabling environments for freedom of expression and access to information – online and offline – with special focus on female journalists.
They expressed this on the final day of the World Press Freedom Day hosted in the capital from 29 April to 3 May 2021.
Another plea was to take effective steps to nurture a diversity of viable public, private and community media; promote the production of independent, quality journalism, and ensure public’s access to relevant, diverse and reliable information.
They also called on governments to ensure flows of funding from public sources to the media, including subsidies and advertising, are allocated fairly and overseen in an independent, transparent and manner. Moreover, government should guarantee investment in journalism and jobs, with respect for gender equality and decent working conditions.
In terms of funding for public and private media, executive director in the information ministry Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana said: “It’s a question of navigation. How do we get these resources to be shared equitably – and the media as the fourth estate should not be left out of the kitty by any government, especially in Namibia that has it enshrined in our constitution for the media to operate freely with the commitment of the current administration”.
He added that it should be an open purse towards the press because government alone cannot disseminate this crucial information.
Participants further called on journalists, media outlets, civil society and academia to advocate with states and digital platforms as part of their wider protection of freedom of expression and information as a public good to recognise media viability as a development priority.
In 1993, the UN General Assembly, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991, proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.
It is a day to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.