Namibia appoints Media Ombudsman to oversee self-regulation regime
Eberhard Hofmann, Chair of the Editors' Forum of Namibia (EFN), which recently announced the appointment of Clement Daniels, former Director of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) who is currently with the Namibia Standards Authority, as Media Ombudsman, informed Minister Kaapanda about the adoption of a Code of Ethics for the Media and a grievance procedure and handed him copies of the relevant documents.
The appointment had come at an "opportune" time when Namibia was preparing for presidential and general elections, said Minister Kaapanda. "During this period, emotions sometimes get out of hand ... and the period up to the announcement of the outcome of the elections may well keep the Media Ombudsman very busy," he added.
He said time would tell whether the Media Ombudsman was 'fair and credible'. Self-regulation mechanisms, he added, could educate the public and promote press freedom. It would also provide the public with a platform to air their grievances against "biased, inaccurate or inadequate reporting".
He urged the Forum to educate the public on how to use the services of this office. In a discussion that ensued the Minister took note of a request to consider scrapping a clause of the Communications Bill which provides for Government regulation of the broadcast media. The National Council has referred the Bill to a standing committee.
The EFN, which has fairly broad-based media support, is to up its membership drive, and the Minister was asked to encourage State-owned and Swapo Party media to become part of the initiative.