EFN speaks on media assaults, exclusion
05 June 2020 | Disasters
The Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN) has taken exception to the ever-increasing government practice of allowing only state-owned media institutions at certain public engagements, especially since the declaration of the coronavirus state of emergency.
Specific mention was made of an incident in which all journalists besides the NBC news team were barred from attending an event at the Windhoek Central Hospital on Wednesday, officiated by President Hage Geingob and health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula.
Charges have since been laid over the physical removal of journalists Jemima Beukes (Namibian Sun) and Charmaine Ngatjiheue (The Namibian) by security officers.
“One would expect this type of approach from security officials in an authoritarian state, but certainly not in Namibia, which prides itself as a champion of democracy in Africa, where the Fourth Estate can practice without fear or favour…
“Whether called out in jest or to make a point, it is absolutely unacceptable to the EFN that any member of the security forces present would even consider asking or stating 'what if you got shot?' as they did to Beukes and Ngatjiheue, who insisted on covering the inspection of the isolation facility yesterday,” the EFN said.
Although the EFN recognises that the pandemic has undoubtedly forced news providers to employ innovative electronic ways of engaging the media, this cannot be done at the exclusion of other media, especially privately-run newspapers, radio and television stations, it said in a statement yesterday.
“The EFN would thus like to remind government that it has an obligation to provide access to information to all Namibians, including the majority who do not have access to state-owned television. The public must always be informed through a medium of their choice and not one forced onto them by government.”