New Era (Windhoek)

11 June 2013

Namibia: Malicious News Report Condemned

Windhoek — The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology says the recent news article by Confidénte dated May 23, 2013 on the alleged N$87 million retirement home for President Hifikepunye Pohamba is "blatant journalistic bias" without an iota of truth in it.

Confidénte claimed that "government has reportedly forked out millions of dollars for the construction of a retirement home for President Hifikepunye Pohamba on the outskirts of Windhoek." The article said a "Chinese company known to Confidénte was approached for the construction although the budget is allegedly not yet finalised, thus it also remains uncertain when the project will kick off."

In a strongly worded statement the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa said the article's heading gives the impression the president's retirement home will cost N$87 million and yet the same article concedes that the tabloid could "not independently verify how much would be spent on Pohamba's retirement home. The Confidénte newspaper is well known for its hostility and naked bias against President Hifikepunye Pohamba."

According to the statement, given the fact that provision of a retirement home for a former president is a statutory requirement, there will be no secret in respect of the amount or cost since this will be budgeted for in a normal way. "The construction of retirement homes now and in the future will follow the normal prescribed procedure," the statement further reads.

"There is therefore, no iota of truth in the article which deliberately gives misleading information that the retirement home of our president will cost N$87 million," said Simataa. "The nation will be informed of the total cost to the last cent, through Parliament, once construction is completed," the deputy minister assured the nation. "Therefore, the N$87 million sucked out of the blue for political reasons is condemned with the contempt it deserves," Simataa further said.

"Once again, we implore all media institutions at all times to observe the ethics and decorum of objective reporting of national concern. Let's avoid sensationalising issues for the sake of boosting sales yet causing irreparable damage to the integrity of institutions and individuals alike."

"Belated retractions of inaccurate media reports and convenient apologies offered after the fact may soon become unacceptable. Objective and accurate reporting is called for at all times," he appealed to all media houses.

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