Namibia: Press Freedom Event to Cost N$10m

26 February 2021

THIS year's celebration of World Press Freedom Day to be held in Namibia for the first time is set to cost N$10 million.

Mbeuta Uandjarakana, the executive director of information and communication technology, confirmed this on Wednesday.

Included in this amount is N$1,3 million the government hopes to collect from the corporate sector and other organisations.

Uandjarakana said the government will contribute 60% of the total amount, or roughly N$5 million, plus the N$1,3 million to be raised, while its global partner, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), will make roughly N$3,5 million available.

The event, which coincides with the commemoration of the Windhoek Declaration of 1991, is set to take place from 1 to 3 May this year.

It will be themed 'Information as a Public Good'.

Minister of information and communication technology Peya Mushelenga on Wednesday said the day with reiterate the government's commitment to democracy and good governance.

"It pleases me to note that Namibia has sound credentials for press freedom and the safety of our journalists," Mushelenga said at a fundraising breakfast for the event.

Namibia has been ranked first in Africa in terms of press freedom for the last four years, with the exception of 2018, and 23rd in the world.

The minister said Namibia is among a few countries in the world with no journalist or media practitioner killed, detained, imprisoned or threatened with their lives, resulting from performing their duties.

"It is therefore our pleasure and honour as Namibians to host this year's World Press Freedom Day celebrations, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration," he said.

Mushelenga said preparations for the global event are well underway.

"Press freedom requires a multi-pronged approach and, therefore, multiple stakeholders," he said.

He said the event's theme is befitting as the government is in the process of finalising the access to information bill, which seeks to promote access to public and private information by citizens of this country.

He said the bill further aims to strengthen the country's democracy and its continued efforts for accountable, transparent and inclusive governance.

The event is hoping to attract 200 local and international delegates, while the focus is on the media.

In compliance with Covid-19 regulations, the global conference will be held both physically and virtually.

"I believe the conference will draw greater participation through its online platforms. As we embrace the new normal, let us welcome our guests with true Namibian hospitality, so that all of us can be proud of having contributed to the hosting of a world-class event," Mushelenga said.

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