Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi said Namibia has upheld media freedom to ensure the safety of journalists, hence so far, no journalist has been threatened, killed or tortured for doing their work in Namibia.
Kandjii-Murangi said this at the opening of the World Press Freedom Day academic conference in the capital yesterday.
She added that Namibia takes pride as it continues to maintain the number one position in Africa and 24th in the world in terms of press freedom.
“As the nations commence to celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2021 and the Windhoek Declaration, I take note of the issue of impunity of violators of human rights and atrocities against journalists. The Windhoek Declaration advocates for a free, independent and pluralistic media, and the protection of journalists,” stated Kandjii-Murangi.
The conference was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in collaboration with the University of Namibia (Unam).
Unam Pro-Vice-Chancellor Anicia Peters said it is worth noting that media and communications graduates from the higher learning institutions are well equipped with the necessary tools to operate and go their way in the field of journalism without having to look over their shoulders.
“The same, sadly, cannot be said for other parts of the world,
where reporters are threatened and abused just for holding the rich and powerful to account, or their lives are cut short,” said Peters.
Guilherme Canela de Souza Godoi, the chief of the Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section at UNESCO, said the conference is an integral part of World Press Freedom Day, meant to inspire more research on the topic of safety of journalists and the sharing of information.
According to UNESCO, nearly 900 journalists were killed during the past decade as they face safety threats, online and offline, with diverse types of attacks, and the worst of it all, killings. He said attacks against journalists hampers the freedom and expression of the press, and requires urgent and concerted actions to tackle the issue. “UNESCO actively defends the safety of journalists and media workers, and leads the implementation of the plan of action for the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity,” De Souza Godoi added.
The conference has also brought together 25 scholars from eight countries, who will present their research findings on the safety of journalists.