The Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) is greatly concerned about the physical force used by the Namibian Police’s Special Field Force against journalists who were covering the #ShutItAllDown protest marches against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
The protests were staged in Windhoek on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
The EFN strongly condemns particularly the manhandling – shoving and pushing of journalists and verbal intimidation which resulted in the subsequent detention and questioning of three journalists Saturday afternoon.
The three journalists who were roughed up before being taken in for questioning are Julia Heita of Eagle FM; Julia Nekwaya of the online publication, The Namibian Daily News; and Anne Ambunda, a freelance journalist. The three were taken to the Windhoek Central Prison but were later released without charge.
All this was witnessed by Justicia Shipena of the Namibia Media Holding’s My Zone team who covered the march on all three days.
According to Shipena, she was told by a Special Field Force officer at some stage while taking video footage of scuffles between the protesters and the police, “not to record everything”.
The EFN is equally concerned to learn of other abusive remarks made by police officers towards journalists as it shows a disrespect for media freedom and freedom of expression which is a constitutional right.
As an editors’ body we are concerned about continuing instances of police officers randomly preventing journalists from carrying out their work, including in June, when Namibian Sun journalist Jemima Beukes and The Namibian’s Charmaine Ngatjiheue were manhandled by security
details when they tried to cover the official opening of the Covid-19 isolation facility at the Windhoek Central Hospital by President Hage Geingob. The EFN therefore calls on the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security as well as the Minister of Justice to ensure that all state organs, protect journalists as they carry out their work.
Elizabeth Kalambo M’ule
Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN)
PO Box 26463