Namibia Media Awards Revived

The Editors' Forum of Namibia yesterday announced the return of the Namibia media awards that seek to recognise the best journalists in the industry.

The chairperson of the Editors Forum of Namibia (EFN), Joseph Ailonga, said during the launch in Windhoek that the awards and gala dinner are scheduled to take place on 18 September in the capital.

The last media awards were held under the auspices of the Media Institute of Southern Africa Namibia in 2010.

Ailonga said the awards will offer 10 categories for journalists to enter, which event aims to recognise work that raises the quality of journalism in the country.

"We have decided on 10 categories that we will focus on this year because what we ultimately want is to continuously grow the awards each year with new categories, as we would have gained some financial muscle over the period," he added.

Some of the categories include best investigative reporter; best health, business and sports reporter; and best photographer, amongst others.

Ailonga said the EFN will have two foreign judges out of the group of five, being one from South Africa and another from Zimbabwe, who will be announced closer to the date.

"We are looking for journalists who have excelled over the period, and we want to make sure that at the end of the day, we award the right people," he noted.

The event will also have Safa al-Ahmad, a Saudi Arabian investigative journalist and filmmaker, as guest speaker.

Al-Ahmad has previously worked with Saudi journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, who was allegedly assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018.

Executive chairperson of the Namibia Media Trust (NMT), Gwen Lister said in this digital age where the public is overloaded with misinformation and fake news, good journalism needs to get the support to rise to the surface to build a more knowledgeable society, and give people the information needed to make decisions.

"Often, complacency sets in, and people take it [journalism] for granted," she stated.

Lister added that it is important to celebrate good journalism, and to encourage the youth who are coming into the craft to be the best and serve the public to their best ability.

"Democracy and press freedom are very fragile, and unless we guard them and care for them, they will fail," she stressed.

First National Bank's spokesperson, Elzita Beukes, said the event will raise awareness, understanding and recognise journalistic integrity.

She added that an independent press is an essential pillar of democracy, and journalists play a key role in shaping public opinion.

The sponsors of the event include NMT, Geka Pharmacy, First National Bank, O&L Group, Gondwana Collection and Hillside Executive Accommodation.

According to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index released on 18 April, Namibia now ranks 23rd in the world. The index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.

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