Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) CEO Linus Chata says the national news agency has never victimised, disciplined, or fired any reporter for writing investigative stories critical of the government or any public office-bearer.
This follows a screenshot message that went viral authored by Nampa news editor Maggy Thomas who summoned the reporter Edward Mumbuu after he had asked President Hage Geingob questions not related to Covid-19.
This happened during a Covid-19 press briefing at State House on Friday.
The questions related to Fishrot, the recent appointment of Tylvas Shilongo as ACC executive director and the transfer of senior police investigator Nelius Becker that has raised eyebrows.
The Presidency yesterday denied putting pressure on Nampa to summon or question the journalist for his view.
“The Presidency does not intervene in the internal affairs of Nampa. It is blatantly clear that there is a section of the press that is not satisfied with the collective achievement of Namibia as the country with the freest press in Africa, and in the top 25 tier globally,” Presidency spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said in a statement.
“In seeking to undermine the country’s performance and influence ratings, this divisive section of the press fabricates problems, invents incidences of harassment and gagging with the sole objective of a downgrade for Namibia in the press rankings.” In response, Chata yesterday said Nampa has never barred any of its reporters from taking on or writing stories critical of any public office-bearer, minister, the president, the Namibian government, or even about Nampa itself.
“In fact, Nampa is probably the only Namibian media house where reporters enjoy the liberty to write stories that are critical of their employer. If anything, Nampa is one of the few local media houses that have been very critical in reporting on matters of public accountability. We will always continue to do so without fear or favour,” Chata said.
He went on to say: “Our brilliant young journalist, Mr Edward Mumbuu, is someone whom we have been proudly grooming to join the fray of fearless Namibian investigative journalists to keep the flames of the fourth estate alive and burning. We have actively been responsible for his development into a fearless journalist who is not easily intimidated by power.”
Chata said claims that Nampa “dances to the tune of their paymasters” are false and he challenged critics to feel free and google some of the news articles that were written by their journalists, in particular Mumbuu.
According to him, their journalists have been trained to be responsible, vigilant, curious, and fierce in their reporting on political and socio-economic issues affecting the country.
“As such, Nampa has no objection to the substance of the questions posed by Mr Mumbuu to His Excellency the President, last Friday. We would have wanted that story on any other day due to the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic, the subject on which the President was addressing the nation. Consequently, the reporter has no case to answer,” he stressed.
He says it is a fact to state that despite the differences in editorial policies, the newsroom idea of having writers’ thoughts synced with those of assigning editors in terms of diarised items and approaches or angles to stories is a norm. Further, he said any misalignment in that respect may lead to difficulties between the reporter and the editors.
He explained that on that particular Friday, the news editor’s objection was with the conduct of the journalist, in that the occasion was not deemed most appropriate to raise the said questions because that had a risk of diluting the President’s important message on Covid-19. – firstname.lastname@example.org
2020-08-04 08:53:36 | 1 months ago