The Namibian presidency says journalists have replaced news for citizens with rumours. It said this in a think-piece press statement that the office of the presidency issued through its press secretary Alfredo Hengari on Friday.
According to the office of President Hage Geingob, certain newspapers feel no obligation to the truth, stating that they have abandoned the core principles of journalism by posing bias and opinions as news.
“The credibility of news has been eroded because the newsmen and women in certain newsrooms have replaced news for citizens with rumours,” said Hengari.
He said they have reneged on the core tenets of journalism as a discipline of verification and not lie-telling.
The office added that certain English daily newspapers have been in campaign mode, intentionally publishing misleading articles that cite bits from statements made by Geingob on various platforms.
Hengari said the effects of colonialism and the informal settlements have enjoyed press headlines with the clear objective of creating an impression about Geingob allegedly blaming colonialism for the nation’s challenges.
“These issues are framed in terms that are purely sensational, not objective, and with the clear intention to harm and misinform the Namibian public, with phoney politically motivated “SMSes” selectively published to reinforce the bias of the newspapers,” he said.
The office further said that some reporters don’t know that German colonialism in Namibia was the most brutal of all the colonies.
Following imperial Germany’s brutality, Southwest Africa’s territory was placed under the South African regime in 1915.
“No editorials or headlines are dedicated to these perversities of the past and how they undermine nation building. There is no headline or cries of a scandal when a German family sells tracts of stolen land in Windhoek for N$300 million,” said Hengari.
He said they are a consequence of beasts with names, 104 years of brutal German imperialism and South African apartheid occupation.
“Since white people have perpetrated the inequalities, certain newspapers have taken the editorial decisions to never call our inequalities by their right name as racial inequalities.”
It further said that Geingob’s presidency has prioritised poverty eradication and housing provision since 2015.
“The President declared in his inaugural speech that poverty eradication would be a key priority of the Government. Following the landmark second Land Conference of 2018, President Geingob elevated the upgrading of informal settlements to a higher Government priority by declaring that they constituted a humanitarian disaster,” he added.
Hengari further stated that the President, within his mandate of speaking honestly to Namibians about challenges in public policy implementation, “when he says that people settling illegally in urban centres are undermining the government’s efforts in housing provision.”
In addition, he said it is correct for Geingob to say that individuals should not settle on un-serviced land.
“It is a call that should be supported by newspaper reports, editorials and all of us, especially in a country that emphasises processes, systems and institutions,” said Hengari.
He concluded that the presidency welcomes constructive and honest conversations from journalists about public policy challenges.
“The role of the President in resolving issues facing Namibians. President Geingob has never shied away from engaging Namibians honestly and dealing with their problems with urgency.”