Parliament defends its attempt to gag media freedom
After receiving backlash for threatening to bar journalists from attending National Assembly sessions, Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi this week said that as long as journalists abide by the rules of the National Assembly, they have nothing to fear.
Katjavivi recently threatened to exclude media correspondents from sessions after claiming that zooming in on the private devices of Members of Parliament from the gallery while the House is in session is ‘unethical’.
“Journalists are visitors to the National Assembly and must abide by the Rules of the House. It is an accepted norm that when one breaks the Rules of the House a warning is issued to deter such behaviour from being repeated,” the statement released by the National Assembly stated, adding; “journalists who uphold ethical standards have nothing to fear from the National Assembly.”
The National Assembly further claims it has “always upheld our motto of ‘The Open Door policy’, which encapsulates the provision of timely information to all stakeholders including the media, and access to Parliament by the public at large.”
“In the same vein, we urge our stakeholders to respect and value our Rules as explained in the Standing Rules and Orders of the House and the Parliamentary procedures and practices that are in place. Let us concentrate on matters that will take the country forward,” the statement read.
The statement is a response to a letter issued by the Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN) which stressed that if the elected leadership chooses to indulge in frivolous activities such as surfing dating sites while they are supposed to contribute to parliamentary debate about pertinent issues, the citizens who voted them into power, need to be informed.