Minister of information and communication technology, Peya Mushelenga, says parliamentarians are “seeing ghosts in every bush.”
Mushelenga made these remarks in response to inquiries posed by Maxmilliant Katjimune, a member of the opposition party in parliament, concerning matters surrounding the operations of New Era newspaper.
These questions were raised back in October.
Katjimune queried Mushelenga about the reasons behind the apparent attempts to restrict, inhibit and micromanage the publicly-funded newspaper, particularly with the approaching 2024 election in the country.
Katjimune also sought details regarding the circumstances leading to the suspension of the newspaper’s managing editor, Johnathan Beukes, who was suspended at the end of September.
Beukes was suspended a day after the paper published an editorial on transparency, following alleged silence from the judiciary regarding inquiries about the appointment of Acting Judge of the High Court, Moses Chinhengo.
Mushelenga dismissed Katjimune’s questions as lacking factual basis.
“The question is crafted to suit the political expedience and convenience of the author, which the ministry wishes to dispel as untruthful and without substance,” said Mushelenga.
He emphasized that those responsible for Beukes’ suspension are better placed to explain the reasons behind it.
Mushelenga reiterated the government’s commitment to press freedom, citing its constitutional assurance in Namibia.
In response to allegations of political interference, Mushelenga reiterated the government’s non-interference in the daily operations of the newspaper.
“It is worth noting that Namibia’s media outlets operate within a framework of self-regulation, which includes a code of ethics and conduct overseen by the Media Ombudsperson,” he said.
Addressing concerns about the judiciary’s scrutiny, Mushelenga clarified the separation of powers within Namibia’s government, reiterating that the executive branch cannot respond on behalf of the judiciary.
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