Tuesday, July 11, 2006 marked the 15th birthday of New Era. It was on this day in 1991 that the newspaper was launched as a weekly publication. The paper has since transformed itself into a bi-weekly before becoming a daily in August 2004. This phenomenal development is in keeping with the newspaper’s mission to fulfil its mandate – that of reaching out to the larger Namibian readership and to strive towards enabling Namibians to become an informed society that makes informed decisions. The launch of the newspaper was not without controversy. Much was said at the time about the new kid on the block. The newspaper was buried in a heap of scorn and derision by its critics before it could even learn to walk. Some 15 years down the line we are not only still here, but we are a national institution and a force to be reckoned with. It has been a long walk. The path was often as treacherous as it was eventful. But all in all, it has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Many of those who pioneered this project have left. Some of them have passed on and yet what they started then with great hopes has grown into a national treasure. New Era has gradually become a household name. Its mission – “to be a respected, credible and objective source of factual information and analysis on current, local, regional, national and international issues and working with all stakeholders to achieve best practice in the promotion of a vibrant and democratic society in Namibia” – continues to be its guiding philosophy. The task at hand is a mammoth one and we are mindful of that. Namibia is as vast as it is diverse. We believe telling the Namibian story in its entirety and with its complexities is not only a challenge and the preserve of this newspaper, but all the media in the country. And yet, the media in Namibia has done relatively well over the past years in terms of providing coverage on the broader issues facing this infant nation, despite their limitations such as lack of skills, money and other constraints. We are proud to be part of the broader media fraternity in this country. Our country has a vibrant press and an enabling environment in which the media can only operate freely and for this we must all be proud. Media freedom is not only guaranteed in the Namibian constitution but it is real. By and large, it is because of this very reason that a newspaper such as New Era has grown into one of the widely read publications in the country. These have been 15 difficult years and we are proud to have weathered them.
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