WINDHOEK: Access to Information (ACTION) Namibia Coalition hosted a breakfast meeting for editors and journalists in the capital on Monday, focusing on the challenges that the media face in obtaining information.
The meeting, held in partnership with the Editors’ Forum of Namibia, provided a platform for journalists to discuss access to information in the national context, giving participants an overview of the current regional and international best practices.
Speaking during the opening session of the meeting, the Chairperson of the Editors’ Forum of Namibia Eberhardt Hoffmann said the aim of the meeting was to help journalists to fully understand the important role which access to information can play in combating corruption and in advancing the socio-economic rights of all Namibians.
Hoffmann said Namibia needs legislation that will protect people who want to report corrupt practices that are taking place in the country, as the present legislation of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) does not fully protect ‘whistle-blowers’.
“Media houses and journalists should fight and campaign with determination for a legislation on access to information in Namibia. We must promote and support a process of drafting a law or legislation on access to information in Namibia,” said Hoffmann.
Speaking at the same occasion, Namibia’s Media Ombudsman Clement Daniels stated that Namibia presently does not have any legislation on access to information, and the country sometimes relies on international laws and legal instruments on the media, which the country has ratified.
Daniels also told the participants that the Communication Act puts some restrictions on access to information, and journalists normally have to struggle hard to obtain information from state-owned institutions.
The meeting precedes a training workshop for senior journalists on access to information, as well as a national consultation on that same topic.
The ACTION Namibia Coalition, the Editors’ Forum of Namibia, the Office of the Media Ombudsman of Namibia and the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) are jointly co-ordinating this training workshop.