Media regulation:Tweya muzzles himself

front tweya 16 Sep 2016Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, says that he will no longer be making utterances on media regulation and possible punishments for journalists, because President Hage Geingob is against this.
This comes after Geingob hosted a press briefing last Friday at State House, where he pointed out that it is not government policy to control media freedom.
In a telephone interview with the Windhoek Observer, Tweya chose his words carefully, after Geingob’s comments last week, in which he said that “ministers should be warned” that media regulation was not on the menu in the Land of the Brave.
“The president has spoken. What else do you want me to say about this matter? First of all, you are asking me things I don’t know, because I was not invited to State House to listen to this. This matter is now closed, please,” Tweya said, before hanging up the phone.
In his speech during the 5th Gender and Media Summit Awards ceremony, which took place last month, Tweya slammed the way media houses and journalists operate.
He said that government will definitely deal with reporters and media houses that are found to be “reporting irresponsibly”.
Geingob, however, said last week that Namibia’s liberation struggle was also about media freedom, freedom of movement and free speech.
He said it will be contradictory for the government to say it is going to control and regulate the media.
“I want to warn my ministers, as if I own them, to be careful. We struggled for a free press, free movement and free speech, and we will be heartless to say that we are going to control the press. That is the strongest leg to stand on. We are known as the freest press in Africa.
“We are number 18 in the world. Not that I care about world recognition only. I was telling some Western countries that we are democratic, but not to please you. We have a free press not to get ratings. It’s a good thing to have a free press, but you must also join us.
“You are claiming that you want to self-regulate, but let’s have accuracy, objectivity, educate and inform, then nobody will try to think about controlling the press. But that is not a policy,” Geingob said.
Geingob’s Press Secretary, Albertus Aochamub, also recently came out strongly against the regulation of the media, while at the same time clarifying that it was not government or SWAPO’s position to censor news in any way.