Namibia: Fellow Entertainment Journalists, Let's Behave

2 December 2019
opinion

Have we, entertainment journalists become those heavily intoxicated uncles and aunts at family events?

This came to my attention and long observation when I called an event organiser, enquiring on when I should collect my media pass for an upcoming event they were hosting. The reply that came from the end of the telephone line was shocking.

"Unfortunately, we don't have media passes this time around and everybody attending has to pay, including entertainment journalists," said the event organiser.

What shocked me was not being told I have to pay for entrance fees but the reason behind it. I politely asked the annoyed event organiser why that was the case he told me my worst fear. "We are tired of Namibia entertainment journalists coming to events, getting intoxicated, misbehaving and asking for press releases after the event," he continued.

I quickly interjected and told him that I once attended their gig, did a story, and never asked for a press release so why am I being boxed in the same categories as my industry colleagues who are being alleged to behave inappropriately at functions.

I badly wanted to cover the event because it promoted local businesses and brought a lot of young people in one space plus the President of the country was going to be there and it was a great opportunity to observe how he was going to engage with my peers but nope, the event organiser told me straight, without any chaser (being too forward), my brother, there are no media passes and there is nothing I can do.

A common question that I got to find out from my industry colleagues is where is the media pass getting me access to, because, as an entertainment journalist, I shouldn't be restricted to any area at a function, I mean how will I do my work when I am being restricted to certain places.

My fears were further ignited by a company that hosts one of the biggest

events in the country's music calendar that had many restrictions towards journalists at their event. Excuse me, sir, you are not allowed in the VIP area, I don't even know how you got in here-who allowed you here was the reply I got when I attended this particular event where I was taking pictures from the VIP sections as I am a little short and couldn't get the best angle so I had to be at a higher place which was the VIP section.

I again asked why I wasn't allowed in the VIP area, the lady in charge of the VIP spot said entertainment journalists get drunk, misbehave and start bothering their VIP guests for selfies. Again, it bothered me that I have never done such things yet it feels like I am getting shot at with the rest of the birds on a tree because I am there and nothing can be done to change this. Have we really become that complacent with the way we conduct ourselves at these events lately?

We are expected to do our work but with so many restrictions, it hampers the quality of work because if I am not at a nice place to take proper pictures, my work will be compromised, if I can't engage with some people, my work is automatically compromised as well.

We all know that professionalism and integrity are the basis of a journalist's trustworthiness and credibility, it doesn't matter what bits you cover, it applies to us, entertainment journalists.

Some people want to do their work but can't because everything has been compromised by others.

We are headed towards the end of the year where a lot of social and entertainment events awaits the presence of entertainment journalists across the country so please, fellow entertainment journalists, let's behave.

*Paheja Siririka is radio personality at Fresh FM Namibia and currently writes for the New Era's Special Projects Desk, covering Entertainment and Youth sections.

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