Shifeta clarifies trophy posts

The ban on trophy photos posted on social media stays in place and excludes formal advertising which, the minister says, is already regulated.

13 July 2018 | Environment

Tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta has clarified confusion in the tourism and hunting industry regarding the ban on posting trophy photos on social media, saying that the restriction does not include advertisements.

According to Shifeta, the new permit condition that was recently added to prohibit hunters from distributing trophy photos on social media never included advertising as there is already a law that regulates this.

Ads are regulated under regulation 106 of the Nature Conservation Ordinance of Namibia which deals with the advertising of hunting of game for trophies.

According to the regulation, no person may advertise the hunting of game or wild animals for the purpose of trophies unless they are the owner or lessee of a hunting farm, or the owner or manager of a guest farm or safari undertaking.

It also says that: “No advertisement, brochure or pamphlet in which or through which the hunting of game or wild animals for the purpose of trophies is advertised shall be printed or distributed before it has been approved in writing by the director.”

Shifeta said the regulation has been in place for many years and he does not understand why there seems to be sudden confusion within the industry over this.

According to him the new requirement is specifically for those people that are posting photos of dead animals on social media.

On Monday, Shifeta met with the Namibian Professional Hunters Association (Napha) and other industry players who aired their concerns after the recent announcement that trophy photos will not be allowed on social media.

Napha president Danene van der Westhuyzen said in a statement that the meeting was very constructive.

According to her, a summary of all the concerns and questions raised by their members, as well as a proposal for a way forward, was presented to Shifeta.

A draft pamphlet with guidelines for social media advertising and posts was also provided to Shifeta and it was suggested that this pamphlet be distributed at the airports, Air Namibia, Namibia Tourism Board, the environment ministry Napha offices, and that it also accompanies all hunting permits issued.

Napha proposed that a clearly defined guideline structure for responsible social media marketing should be set up. This will ensure a risk-free freedom of advertising by hunting clients as well as hunting operators. It will also ensure that the ministry has clear rules and guidelines with which it will be able to prosecute and or penalise any Namibian outfitter for transgressions against these guidelines.

Another suggestion was a generic well-worded, professional write-up that can serve as a response on any criticism on hunting on social media platforms to be used by any hunter, outfitter, the ministry or Napha. This will at the same time provide them all with an opportunity to enlighten critics on their role as conservationists through hunting, the benefits of hunting and the role the ministry plays.

Van der Westhuyzen said because of the ever-changing and evolving portals through the internet, it is imperative that all professional hunters, master hunting guides and hunting guides stay up to date with these developments. “Through the ministry's proposed annual ethics course, a point system where certain credits are provided to individuals attending these courses should be implemented.”

This point system could serve as a penalising system as well, where points could be deducted by the ministry by any transgressions of hunters.

A meeting will be held at Heja Lodge on 27 July where anyone who wants to contribute constructive and pro-active input on the matter is welcome.



ELLANIE SMIT

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