The Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) is greatly concerned at the intimidation of journalists at two events over the past weekend.
The behaviour of supporters of former independent presidential candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula, and some opposition parties at the Embandu Sports Field in the Oshana Region, where journalists of the national broadcaster, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), were chased away, was not just uncalled for, but worrying.
So too was the behaviour of these supporters when they disturbed another meeting at the Youth Complex in Katutura. The EFN has noted that these threats and often-vile abuse have become even more pronounced on various Internet platforms, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media sites.
Such behaviour is totally unacceptable and is condemned by the EFN in the strongest possible terms. All too often this type of uncontrolled behaviour has sadly led to the death of journalists elsewhere on the continent or in other parts of the word. The EFN wishes to remind the public that the right to information, freedom of expression and criticism is one of the fundamental rights of any person. The rights and duties of any journalist originate from this right and are cardinal in the course of duty. It is in society’s own interest to respect these rights and allow journalists to perform their duty unhindered.
The EFN thus calls on political parties and other institutions and organisations to work with journalists, rather than against them and to warn their members or supporters against commission of crimes which include threats to cause grievous bodily harm against any person including a journalist. If the public has a complaint about non-factual or unethical reporting by any EFN member – including the NBC – they are free to contact the Media Ombudsman, Mr John Nakuta, to voice their concern at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at +262 811 270 661.
Issued in Windhoek on Tuesday, 10 December 2019 by:
EFN Secretary General