Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi has accused journalists of drafting parliamentary questions for some members of parliament (MPs), whom he said do not have the capacity to think.
Swartbooi, who is also an MP, made these allegations at a media briefing in Windhoek last week.
He said the involved MPs then ask these suggested questions in the National Assembly.
This, Swartbooi said, aims to make those MPs “heroes” and creates the impression that they are able to lead society.
“We are told that some journalists are writing questions for some members of parliament, structuring them word for word, paragraph for paragraph.
“This is very bad and unethical of some journalists,” he said.
Swartbooi said the involved journalists go out in public “when they are drunk”.
“It’s a shame, and it’s not good,” he said.
He said elected members must be able to generate their own ideas.
“The media is in the game of creating false heroes, a false sense of knowledge of competence and conscience about individual members of parliament or political parties,” he said.
Swartbooi said his party would continue to monitor the relationship between politicians and some journalists who have become MPs’ political assistants.
He said such journalists should rather join politics.
Swartbooi urged journalists to stick to their profession.
He said party members earlier this year found a journalist partying with Swapo members in the //Kharas region.
“Is this correct? Maybe it’s the new journalism of the 21st century.”
Swartbooi said LPM events are often under-reported in the media.
“Some papers are hired guns for some political parties. A political party will put a motion about mosquito nets in parliament, and it will be front-page news.
“I think some editors are refusing to learn, understand and interpret their role as a member of the fourth estate. It’s a very fundamental misguided fashion,” he said.
Swartbooi also accused opposition parties of suffering from the “diarrhoea” of tabling motions and asking questions in the National Assembly every day.
He said these motions and questions are based on newspaper articles.
“They convert newspaper articles into questions and pretend that they are working, and the very same newspapers are covering these items as newsworthy,” Swartbooi said.
Asked whether the party has reported the matter to the media ombudsman or Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN), LPM spokesperson Lifalaza Simataa on Sunday said the LPM plans to do so.
“We believe strongly that such an act blurs the lines of accountability and credibility and is unethical in nature,” Simataa said.
Media ombudsman John Nakuta and EFN chairperson Frank Steffen and his deputy, David Bishop, did not respond to questions sent to their cellphones over the weekend.