03 September 2020 | Leserpost
Offener Brief an den namibischen Präsidenten Dr Hage Geingob
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF NAMIBIA, HIS EXCELLENCY DR HAGE GEINGOB
The Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) would like to respond to His Excellency’s remark, made at the media event on Friday, 28 August 2020, when you asked, why the media was not present, and in fact wondered whether Namibian media was boycotting the event.
The media was absent on account of a request by the media office in the Presidency, as can be seen in the message below:
It would be a lie, if the EFN would not admit that media was pretty incensed by His Excellency’s remarks, considering that we adhered to the request that was made, directly flying in the face of what was agreed with the Press Secretary in the Presidency, Dr Alfredo Hengari and the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Hon. Peya Mushelenga, two months ago.
A “Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Media Events” was suggested by myself, Frank Steffen as chairperson of the EFN to both Dr Hengari and Hon. Mushelenga. The document lays out a comprehensive procedure on how media events should and could be conducted to ensure a fair representation of both private and public media organisations at all events.
Unfortunately, when that SOP was presented to the Hon. Minister on July 20 at the old Cabinet Chambers, Dr Hengari was conspicuous in his absence, although he had originally agreed to be present during that occasion.
It is thus, that the EFN seriously had to question the commitment of the President’s Office, in honouring a suggested procedure that was agreed to in principle after consultation with those very offices.
Media has no doubt that any agreement reached between the EFN and Government in terms of how media events should be planned and conducted, will remain subject to Government’s willingness to actually commit to such agreement. Currently this exists under the title “Standard Operating Procedure for Media Events”.
The EFN speaks of “principle agreement”, as it is a document, which was a direct result of my approaching Dr Hengari and holding further discussions with MICT arriving at a working document, which Dr Mushelenga was comfortable with.
Reverting to the incident that happened on Friday August 28, when Dr Hengari was questioned by the media how his statement should be understood if the President of the country questions the absence of the media, he was said to have reacted rather haughtily.
In conclusion, the EFN would prefer to have a fairer procedure in place, to accommodate the Namibian Media in a fair manner.