Namibia needs to do more on media freedom: Hopwood

11 May 2021 | Others

NAMPA

WINDHOEK

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director Graham Hopwood says even though Namibia has retained its number one position for media freedom in Africa, the country needs to do more on press freedom.

Last month, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranked Namibia as the top nation in Africa for press freedom.

However, the global ranking shows that Namibia slipped one position down from number 23 to number 24 out of 180 countries.

RSF evaluates media pluralism and independence, the media legislative framework and the safety of journalists, in addition to the quality of journalism in a country.

Deteriorating

Hopwood said the fact that Namibia retained its top position on the continent might not be attributed to a total free press environment, but because other countries are doing worse than Namibia and those doing the rankings had no choice but to put Namibia at the top.

He said Namibia needed to do more to improve in order to compete with the top 20 countries in the world.

“The situation in general for human rights, including the right to freedom of expression in the media, has probably deteriorated in many parts of the world including Africa.

“The fact that Namibia has not deteriorated and we do have this record of not having detained or openly harassed journalists stands in our favour. I don’t think it’s a deserved position, since we can always improve and try to get into the top 20,” said Hopwood.

IPPR research associate Frederico Links echoed his sentiments, saying the fact that Namibia dropped one position in the global ranking shows that the country is not doing too great with media freedom, and only got the top position because other countries performed worse.

“We have to be realistic about what we are looking at, Namibia dropped one position globally and we are still first in Africa. We didn’t retain our number one position because we did anything great, it is just that there is increasing media repression on the continent, the situation in other countries is worse,” stated Links.

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