The Presidency has dismissed a report in a local daily which ostensibly insinuated President Hage Geingob was not in support of the much talked about basic income grant.
Presidency spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said the report was misleading and de-emphasises the long-standing efforts of Geingob in the fight against poverty.
The newspaper reported that Hengari had confirmed Geingob needed to be convinced of the need for a universal basic income grant.
According to the newspaper, Hengari in an emailed response, said the President wanted to know why the country should introduce a universal basic income grant while it could instead focus on providing the most vulnerable Namibians with funds.
However, Hengari yesterday said the article ignores the crucial strides made under the Geingob administration to protect the most vulnerable Namibians under difficult circumstances, occasioned by the end of the commodity super cycle in 2014, recurrent droughts and now Covid-19.
“It is therefore regrettable to note that journalism and serious policy debates have been reduced to clichés and sound bites that are framed in headlines in order to create sensational conversations and also to serve as bait for superfluous insults on social media from an army of individuals who do not actually take time to read and understand issues of national importance,” Hengari said.
He said in doing so, the articles of the nature like the one which appeared in The Namibian, failed dismally to educate Namibians, disallowing them the opportunity to form informed opinions and views about valid issues affecting the nation.
“In a democracy, journalism should not fail in its hallowed mission to educate and inform citizens through well-researched reports and articles, in which all voices are heard and not deliberately muted to advance preconceived opinions of the authors,” he said.
Hengari is of the opinion that any article that seeks to quote from sources, including the President, should do so in a manner that provides context, commits to the highest standards and maintain credibility and public trust.
“We have been witnessing the flouting of the code of ethics and conduct through reports that seek to cast aspersions on the achievements of President Geingob and the Namibian government at large,” said Hengari.
He said the fact that poverty in Namibia decreased from over 70% at independence in 1990 to 18% in 2016 is too good to tell and invalidates the sensational nature of the report.