Namibia's commitment to transparency and open communication has helped the country remain a beacon for media freedom in Africa.

These were the remarks of the Executive Director in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Dr. Audrin Mathe, who spoke during the opening ceremony of the 10th edition of the International Festival of Freedom of Expression and the Press.

Many journalists in Africa work under difficult conditions, with harassment and threats a daily part of their lives.

Conflicts and military upheavals further compound the situation, with the safety of journalists increasingly being threatened.

Poor working conditions also contribute to an erosion in journalism ethics.

As a result, media development and its accompanying freedom are compromised.

The 2023 rankings of Reporters Without Borders bear testimony to that, with major drops in media freedom rankings for several countries in Africa.

"Namibia's commitment to open communication and its dedication to a free press has not only enhanced the nation's democracy but has also positioned it as a model for other countries grappling with the challenges of maintaining an independent and pluralistic media landscape. The government has also introduced briefings by members of the Cabinet. These briefings are meant to inform citizens about the programmes and policies undertaken by the government. They provide an opportunity for the media to ask questions on any subject. In an era where press freedom is increasingly under threat globally, Namibia's leadership is a beacon of hope for those who believe in the fundamental importance of free and responsible media in society. No journalist has ever been jailed or killed for doing their job in the 33 years of independence."

Also speaking at the event was Dr. Ousmane Bougouma, the President of the Transitional Legislative Assembly of Burkina Faso. The West African country was subjected to a coup in January last year, and a transitional authority was put in place to return the country to constitutional order.

Organisers have confirmed that more than 200 people from 40 countries are attending the weeklong event.



Peter Denk