Netherlands hands hosting of press freedom day to Nam
The theme for 2020 is 'Journalism without Fear or Favour'.
Minister of information and communication technology Peya Mushelenga announced that Namibia will host the 2021 World Press Freedom Day celebrations (WPFD) to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. He said Namibia is committed to press freedom and ensures a conducive environment for journalists to operate in.
This year's event, slated to take place in The Hague in the Netherlands, had to be postponed from May to December due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The theme for 2020 is 'Journalism without Fear or Favour'. The Windhoek Declaration is a statement of press freedom principles founded by African newspaper journalists on 3 May 1991. The government last year submitted a bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to host 2021's World Press Freedom Day.
“Namibia continues to value press freedom and ensures a conducive environment for the media to operate in for the enhancement of our democracy. This remains evident as Namibia continues to retain her position as number one in Africa and number 23 on the global ranking as per the World Press Index Report. Further, the access to information bill is currently under consideration in parliament,” Mushelenga said at the handover.
He said the day is meant to defend media independence, protect the media and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives.
“Namibia stands ready to host this auspicious event and welcome members of the media fraternity to the country next year,” he said.
Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum, Unesco representative to Namibia, said just a year after independence, Namibia allowed African journalists to attend Unesco's press freedom seminar in 1991.
“We are proud of the steps already accomplished and we stand firm to support the Namibian government. I am calling on everyone to amplify this support,” Moussa-Elkadhum said.
Albertus Aochamub, Namibia's Unesco ambassador, said the country is happy to take over from the Netherlands with a willingness to learn from that experience. Unesco deputy director general Xing Qu said the day will be celebrated in the Netherlands virtually for the first time, and thanked the Namibian government for hosting next year's event.
“I wish every success to Namibia in organising this event and I am confident it will deliver,” Qu said.
The Netherlands' ambassador to Unesco, Hans Wesseling, said: “World Press Freedom Day is going home and we are happy.”
He said the hosting of the event by the Netherlands coincides with their 75 years of commemorating humanity. He said the Netherlands is still finalising the virtual event slated for the end of this year. Frank Steffen, chairperson of the Editors' Forum of Namibia, said it is a privilege for Namibia to host the event next year. According to Unesco, the day aims to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
Source: The Namibian Newspaper