Minister Takes Exception to New Era Article

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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will continue to advocate for the adoption of a universal Code of Ethics for media practitioners in Namibia, as well as for the establishment of a media mediating body to ensure that action is taken against unscrupulous journalists who interpret information to serve their own hidden agendas. On Monday, April 03, 2006, New Era carried a front-page article under the heading “Official Portrait Sells Slowly”. Concentrating on sales in six of the regions since September 2005, the newspaper chose to ignore the fact that 5 323 out of 8 400 portraits printed were already sold by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as copyright holder of the official photograph of the President. Instead, New Era painted a skewed picture by stating that only 169 of the 742 portraits distributed to six of the regions since September 2005 were sold. Giving prominence to regional sales also resulted in a headline that was wrong and misleading. Instead of using the global figure early in the article to give a reflection of sales, New Era opted to leave the fact that N$l 349 360 was already raised in revenue by selling 5 323 photos to the second last paragraph of the article. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting thus views the New Era headline and article in question as examples of subjective journalism that is distorting the truth. The official photo of the President is available in two different sizes: being 40×50 cm and 30×40 cm and clients have a choice of framed or unframed photos. Of the 40×50 cm framed photos, 1 700 had already been sold at an amount of N$680 000 and N$519 360 was collected with sales of 1 623 framed portraits of 30×40 cm. A total of 2 000 unframed photos were sold at N$I50 000. In Windhoek alone 5 172 portraits, both framed and unframed had been sold since May 2005, bringing in revenue of N$1 295 040 for the State. With the Ongwediva Trade Fair in 2005, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sold portraits totalling N$18 000 during the 10 days of the Fair. For New Era to have used the regional sales as a yardstick for national sales was not only wrong, but also irresponsible. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, MP Minister – New Era would like to point out the fact that some of the information being provided now by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was not availed to us in the initial response by Wilma Deetlefs, the head of the media liaison unit. For instance, she did not mention the 5 323 to be the number of pictures that have been sold so far, but just that 169 out of 742 photographs that were distributed to the six regions were sold. We regret the overall impression that was created by our story, and would like to reassure that we neither have a hidden agenda, nor would we wilfully write a story that is skewed. If the concerned official had provided this figure in the faxed response that she sent to us, there is no way that New Era would have omitted it. Acting Editor