Windhoek-Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa has implored media practitioners to uphold media ethics governing their profession whilst exercising their ‘powerful’ role in a responsible manner.
Motivating the ministry’s budget of N$346 million in parliament on Monday, Simataa said of late the ministry has seen a creeping tendency of prejudiced and inaccurate reporting on some issues.
“Media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. And that is the power because it controls the minds of the masses,” said Simataa quoting Malcom X.
Simataa says while members of the media should not be muzzled in carrying out their tasks, it is incumbent upon them as powerful entities to uphold ethics that govern their profession more so given the emergence of multiple credible and not so credible online sources.
According to him, the ministry’s desire is to consolidate Namibia’s position as one of the countries with the freest press on the planet.
“We will continue to engage the Editor’s Forum on a regular basis to benefit from their views and to also afford us the opportunity to sound our concerns where appropriate,” he said.
Simataa says for the country to forge ahead in unity, “we must consistently shun the vices” that pose great danger to the unity of the state. For this reason, he said, isolated agitation emerging form certain quarters “for our country to revert back to the previous apartheid system of Bantustans, should be rejected”.
He also used the opportunity to urge lawmakers to lead by example in the use of new technology.
Simataa, who delivered his budget motivation speech from his mobile phone, promised to give an IPad to each member of the National Council and National Assembly.
“We need to do away with these order papers and minutes,” said the ICT minister.
Under the four programmes under the ministry, Information Communications Development was allocated just over N$8 million. Print Media Affairs under the ministry was allocated N$20.5 million, N$15 million was allocated to New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) while the Southern Times was allocated N$10 million.
Close to N$49 million was allocated to the audio visual media and regional offices. This programme includes an allocation of N$3 million to the ‘undervalued’ Namibia Film Development Fund to cater for the development of a ‘vibrant’ film industry.
Simataa said “this paltry allocation can hardly sustain our desire to propel Namibia to the global bouquet of preferred film location”.
The programme also includes an allocation of N$140 million to the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) which amount Simataa said is grossly inadequate to meet its public broadcaster obligations.
“Given the huge reductions in allocations to the NBC over the past two financial years, key programs such as the migration from analogue to DTT where Namibia was regarded as leader in SADC, it at great risk of being stalled,” he stressed.
Under the same programme, Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) was allocated N$15 million.
Furthermore, an amount of close to N$53 million was allocated to the Coordination and Support programme. The programme includes close to N$33 million to cater for the ongoing construction of modern and ICT compliant ministerial regional offices in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West and Katima Mulilo, Zambezi Region.