Information and Communication Technology Minister Tjekero Tweya has dismissed assertions that he is a potential threat to media freedom or access to information in Namibia, as widely hinted lately in the press.
Tweya also denied allegations that he is working against his declaration of intent and subsequent performance agreement, which was signed between him and President Hage Geingob.
He then poured scorn over perceptions that he has a vendetta against the media who had in the past reported about allegations of him acquiring a piece of land in a communal area, saying he is a public official, who does not mix his personal feelings with his work.
“The sponsors of such untruth stooped so low and forgot that since my declaration I mobilised all resources at my disposal to craft a thorough Access to Information Bill [through a consultative workshop] attended by all stakeholders for my submission to the National Assembly,” Tweya said.
“It took a whole a week to build consensus for the envisaged Bill. This shows that government is committed to free media and access to it by all Namibians,” said the information minister.
“How can I become the source of a potential threat to media freedom and/or access to information in Namibia?” he asked, before stating that access to information has never been a luxury item, but a basic tenet for the public good.
Tweya said the media has been a natural government partner by informing, educating and entertaining the public.
It is his opinion that with an unfettered environment for media freedom there would be no success in the government’s pursuit of the noble cause of providing access to information. “However, it can never be denied that our colleagues in the media many a times strayed into abusing this duty of informing and violated people [and] institutions’ rights and characters.”
He said as a responsible public servant and custodian of media and information dissemination in the country, he is dutybound to issue a cautionary note to those who violate media ethics by accessing information and who use it for untoward purposes.
“Slanderous reporting and other non-progressive tendencies should not be used as tools to get market by print and electronic media, thereby losing an opportunity to effectively and purposefully inform society,” the minister urged.
“People the world over are yearning for peace, which they don’t have. We have peace. Let’s reject calls by some members of the society who are still worshipping tribalism, racism, etc,” he said.
“In the spirit of Harambee, let’s join hands and march for a better and prosperous Namibia, as our President calls on us all to unite and fight the enemy of poverty and for a prosperous Namibia for all.”