Namibia: International Organisation Backs Nam Journalists

(File photo).

The International Federation of Journalists is backing calls by Namibian journalists to be able to work in the public interest, free from pressure or restraint.

Journalists in Namibia on Sunday sent out a letter in which they hit out at employers and politicians for muzzling the media, while defending "the right to ask difficult questions".

This follows a recent incident in which the Namibia Press Agency distanced itself from its reporter Edward Mumbuu, who asked Fishrot corruption scandal-related questions at a Covid-19 media briefing at State House in Windhoek on Friday.

IFJ general secretary Anthony Bellanger welcomed the collective stand taken by the journalists and said their statement should serve as a warning that journalists would defend the right to serve the public interest and not narrow political interests.

"The IFJ stands fully behind those who speak out and act in the best traditions of our profession. Instead of appeasing the politicians, media bosses should also stand alongside journalists in demanding the right to ask difficult questions on behalf of citizens," Bellanger stated on Monday.

Meanwhile, Namibia's Presidency also on Monday claimed it was clear a section of the press was not satisfied with the collective achievement of Namibia as the country with, it said, the most free press in Africa and in the top 25 tier globally.

"In seeking to undermine the country's performance and influence ratings, this divisive section of the press fabricates problems, invents incidences of harassment and gagging with the sole objective of a downgrade for Namibia in the press rankings," (sic) the Presidency said.

The Presidency also denied putting pressure on Nampa to summon or question Mumbuu over his views.

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