Nambia, Nampa denies censoring journalist

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Nambia, The agency came under fire after an editor reprimanded reporter Edward Mumbuu and distanced itself from questions posed by him after he agitated president Hage Geingob with questions on the Fishrot corruption scandal during a Covid-19 media briefing at State House on Friday last week. In a statement released by Nampa chief executive officer Linus Chata on Monday, the agency said it has never victimized, disciplined or fired any reporter for writing investigative articles that are hard-hitting and critical of the government or any public office-bearer.

Chata noted the agency would have wanted an article on the questions posed by Mumbuu on any other day.

He added that it is important for writers’ thoughts to be synchronized with those of assigning editors in terms of diarised items and angles to articles.

“On that particular Friday, the news editor’s objection was with the conduct of the journalist in that the occasion was not deemed most appropriate to raise the said questions because that had a risk of diluting the president’s important message on Covid-19,” he said.

Chata said Nampa has an independent editorial policy and at no stage did State House or the government direct the agency on what or how to report.

“If anything Nampa is one of the few local media houses that have been very critical in our reporting on matters of public accountability. We will always continue to do so without fear or favor,” he said.

Chata said Mumbuu was someone the agency has been “proudly grooming to join the fray of fearless Namibian investigative journalists”.

“Our journalists have been trained to be responsible, vigilant, curious, and fierce in their reporting on political and socio-economic issues affecting our country. As such Nampa has no objection to the substance of the questions posed by Mr. Mumbuu to the president on Friday,” he added.

Also on Monday, Editors’ Forum of Namibia chairperson Frank Steffen said it was of serious concern that Nampa buckled under political pressure and distanced itself from the professional and ethical conduct of its journalist.

Steffen added that as a publicly owned news agency that purports to subscribe to ethical journalism, Nampa was supposed to stand by its journalist for asking hard, “unappreciated” questions.

“There was absolutely nothing wrong with the questions that Mumbuu posed to president Hage Geingob. As a journalist, he was seeking answers. The media conference was an ideal platform and he took advantage of this because he was well aware that we operate in an environment where answers to hard questions are not always forthcoming from public officials, the Presidency included,” he said.

He noted that the country should not forget it is highly ranked by Reporters without Borders not just because of the conducive environment within which journalists operate but mainly because of the independent editorial content purveyed by both private and public media.

Steffen said Nampa should thus desist from self-censorship and from eroding the fearless journalism that Namibia is known for continentally and globally.

News By Agency

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