Information minister Stanley Simataa has implored Namibian journalists to resolutely resist the temptation to be caught up in the web of "fake news".
"We all know this is disguised electronic gossip and vitriol! Fake news can only be effectively diluted by developing a discerning readership, by strengthening the role of traditional media and by upholding quality journalistic standards," said Simataa.
He was speaking at the 2019 Editor's Forum of Namibia journalism awards held in Windhoek last week.
Simataa said the media has a sacred obligation to honour the collective determination of the old saying that "only the truth shall set us free".
"Never compete with the truth. The truth will always prevail," he urged.
Simataa was confident the awards would promote the practice of ethical journalism in line with the existing code of ethics and conduct for Namibian print, broadcast and online media and raise the journalism stature of all the winners.
"In a highly competitive but crowded journalism field in which we all operate, awards of this nature should be embraced as a golden opportunity to strive for excellence as opposed to mediocrity," he said.
He added that as a government they desire to see the establishment of a mature media culture - one firmly grounded on principles of ethics, professionalism and self-regulation.
"As much as those of us in government might enjoy the odd tussle with members of the media fraternity, most, if not all of us as public representatives, acknowledge that the media plays a pivotal role in ensuring accountability to our people. Certainly, a vibrant, independent and ethical media is the bedrock of any democratic society," observed Simataa.
Meanwhile, Nomhle Kangootui of The Namibian scooped the coveted journalist of the year award and walked away with N$20 000 courtesy of FNB Namibia. Former editor of The Patriot Mathias Haufiku won the investigative award, while Catherine Sasman of Namibia Media Holdings received the best journalism award in the agriculture and environment category.
The business and innovation journalism award was shared by Lazarus Amukeshe, Shinovene Immanuel and George Turner.
The Namibian's Tuyeimo Haidula scooped both the community and health and social welfare awards, while Jana-Mari Smith of Namibian Sun won the best journalism award in the education category.
Kristy Watermeyer of 99FM was the winner of the podcast award, while Isai Sipunga of One Africa Television received the videography award.
Other winners on the night included Sheefeni Nicodemus of The Namibian (sport award) and Nampa's Hesron Kapanga, who walked away with the photojournalism award.