The Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN) is concerned that the Namibian Press Agency (NAMPA) buckled under political pressure and distanced themselves from Edward Mumbuu, a journalist at NAMPA.
The Forum in a statement said NAMPA as a public owned news agency which purports to subscribe to ethical journalism was supposed to stand by its journalist for asking hard, unappreciated question on 31 July, to the President Hage Geingob at a COVID-19 media conference.
"There was absolutely nothing wrong with the question that Mumbuu posed to the President HE Dr Hage Geingob, as a journalist he was seeking answers," they added.
According to them to the Forum the media conference as an ideal platform and he took advantage of this because he was well aware that we operate in an environment where answers to hard questions are not always forthcoming from public officials, the presidency included.
They reminded us, that Namibia is ranked number one in Africa and 27 globally by Reporters without Borders, and not just because of the conducive environment within which journalist operate but mainly because of the independent editorial content purveyed both by private and public media in the country.
"NAMPA should thus desist from self censorship and from eroding the fearless journalism that Namibian is know for continentally and globally, because it was not by mistake that the Windhoek Deceleration on Press Freedom was crafted in this country," they said.
The Forum advised the presidency and all political and private news makers to stop media-bashing and instead answer the questions as these are asked on behalf of the public out there who have a right to know. "We therefore urge politicians, who are after all elected by the populations for a limited period of time, to at all times refrain from assuming the right to dictate to government-owned media and their personnel, what should be allowed to be the content of their reports or for the matter questions, that will be allowed to be asked," they emphasised.
The EFN further urged NAMPA management to refrain from taking any unreasonable steps, disciplinary or otherwise, in its apparent will to please its master, which is the Namibian government as owner of the news agency.