ACTION ALERT: As many Namibians are no doubt aware by now, last week the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) attempted to get a gag order from the High Court to prevent The Patriot weekly newspaper from publishing an article related to the NCIS’s handling of state resources.

In its application for the gag order, the NCIS cites the Protection of Information Act (84 of 1982), which became enforceable in Namibia, then South West Africa, in 1985.

It is indeed a worrying occurrence, as many no doubt feel and have already said, that Namibian state security authorities are now resorting to applying apartheid-era laws to undermine transparency and accountability, and in essence the public interest, in an independent Namibia.

The ACTION Coalition condemns this action by the NCIS in the strongest possible terms and call on relevant state authorities to ensure that the affairs of the NCIS are brought under some sort of broader oversight, instead of just reporting to the Office of the President.

This is not how such institutions should be accountable, if the term can even be used in a situation where a near total institutional blackout reigns, in the 21st century.

The ACTION Coalition calls on all freedom loving and democratically-minded Namibians to express themselves on this issue and to call for the affairs and activities, where they would not harm national security, to be brought into the sunlight in pursuance of the public interest and adequate oversight, to prevent abuse and corruption of a critical state agency and the waste of public resources.

And, finally, the ACTION Coalition calls on relevant authorities to expunge the Protection of Information Act (84 of 1982) from Namibia’s law books once and for all.

**Find related statements by members of the Coalition: Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) and Namibia Media Trust (NMT).

Issued by:
ACTION Coalition