WINDHOEK - Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob says journalists are free to approach him for information but that information provided should not be distorted.
The prime minister was addressing members of the public at a public information sharing session on the constitutional amendments at the Katutura Community Hall on Wednesday evening.
“Sometimes you grant journalists interviews and then they distort the information. Others interview you for an hour but only two lines are published in the end after you had said so many things. When you do this, do you really expect me to be enthusiastic to provide information next time you call me? We need each other but we must be honest, if I gave you information then you must properly reflect what I said,” he said.
“Journalists also have the responsibility to build this nation, therefore you must help build it and not destroy it with negative reporting,” stressed the prime minister.
“Sometimes journalists call you for a comment on matters that are still being discussed, and when you say no comment they say you are withholding information, but sometimes one is really not in a position to answer at that specific time,” said the prime minister.
“Parliament has a public gallery where the press can sit and follow discussions in parliament, is this not access to information?” questioned the prime minister.
Geingob said the country’s leaders are the ones maintaining press freedom in the country.
“We are lucky, our press freedom has been ranked top in Africa for the last three years, do you think this comes easily? It is because leaders maintain that freedom. No journalists were arrested since independence for what they have written. We must value this and not take it for granted because others do not have it,” said Geingob.
By Mathias Haufiku"