Misa Namibia Launches 5th African Media Barometer for Namibia [press release] (allAfrica.com)

The Namibian media environment has not changed significantly since the last African Media Barometer (AMB) held in 2011, as it remains conducive for media freedom and freedom of expression. However, there are a number of areas of concern, such as the lack of an access to information law; attempts at stifling freedom of expression and the infringement on the right to privacy through various draft legislations; and a decline in media professionalism and ethics.

This was revealed at the launch of Namibia’s 5th AMB held this morning. The AMB is an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of media environments based of homegrown criteria derived from African Protocols and Declarations. Download full report here.

Speaking at the event, MISA Namibia National Director Natasha Tibinyane noted that they ensured that the 12 individuals who assessed the media environment over a two-day period earlier this year, represented all relevant stakeholders, namely – state-owned and independent media, academia, as well as development and civil society organisations.

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Marius Kudumo, allowed for a critical analysis of the AMB’s methodology and results. Three members of the AMB panel, Media Ombudsman Clement Daniels, Senior Producer at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Nashilongo Gervasius-Nakale, and Oshili24 Editor Confidence Musariri gave input on some of the AMB’s key points and shared some of their experiences of working in Africa’s top rated media freedom environment. MISA Regional Director Zoé Titus provided a regional perspective on media freedom and freedom of expression, and how Namibia compares to other SADC member states.

The panel noted that there is reluctance from government to interfere in issues related to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, and that the country’s independent judiciary could also be a deterrent. They however called on government to develop supportive legislation that would enhance media freedom and expression, such as an access to information law.

The decline in professionalism and ethics was also highlighted, and it was agreed that media houses have an obligation to invest in the training of their journalists, and the onus should not rest on training institutions, which are state-funded, to deliver journalists.

The civil society sector was also called upon to join media freedom and freedom of expression advocacy efforts, since the application of these fundamental human rights can lead to citizen mobilization in regard to service delivery and good governance.

MISA and fesmedia Africa initiated the AMB in 2005, and only serve as conveners of the AMB-panel and guarantors of the methodology. The content of the discussion and the report is owned by the panel of local experts and does not represent or reflect the views of MISA or fesmedia Africa.

The Namibia AMB 2015 report concluded with a detailed list of recommendations for follow-up by the media, civil society and government.

The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) funded the AMB Namibia 2015 activity.

The 2015 Namibia Africa Media Barometer report highlights the need for the enactment of access to information legislation in Namibia. In an opinion piece, Director of International Relations at the Polytechnic of Namibia, Dr Marius Kudumo, argues that access to public information is imperative for citizens’ participation in policy making and effective and accountable governance.

MISA is a non-governmental organisation with members in 11 of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Officially launched in September 1992, MISA focuses primarily on the need to promote free, independent and pluralistic media, as envisaged in the 1991 Windhoek Declaration. MISA seeks ways in which to promote the free flow of information and co-operation between media workers, as a principal means of nurturing democracy and human rights in Africa.