Freedom of expression should be accompanied by responsible reporting: Shikongo

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force, Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo has emphasised the need for responsible reporting alongside freedom of expression by media practitioners when carrying out their duties.

He said this during the Training of Trainers on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists at the Namibian Police Forensic Science Institute in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

“Despite this, I must caution that freedom of expression should also be accompanied by responsible reporting. The media must realise that where their freedom or rights end, the freedom and rights of others start. Nevertheless, let me extend my deepest gratitude to our invaluable partners, UNESCO and various collaborators for their relentless support on this transformative journey,” he said.

He said UNESCO and NamPol have developed a comprehensive module that explores the link between freedom of expression, the media and journalist safety.

Explaining that the roots of the initiative can be traced back to a recommendation made during a Training of Trainers workshop on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists in Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2022. Two officers from the Namibian Police Force participated in the workshop, sparking the drive for a similar initiative in Namibia.

“It was during that gathering where two dedicated officers of the Namibian Police Force participated, and henceforth, their participation resulted in the need for us as a country, to embark upon the same initiative which led to the training we are commissioning here today,” he said.

Shikongo noted that they stand on the foundation laid by the collective wisdom shared in Mombasa, and the workshop in Swakopmund that developed a module addressing freedom of expression and journalist safety to make it a resounding success.

The police chief urged everyone not to lose sight of the fact that their journey is ongoing, a continuous crusade requiring dedication and perseverance.

With the successful development of the module and the initiation of the Training of Trainers workshop, they stand on the threshold of a transformative era. While also encouraging everyone to embrace the moment with open minds and passionate hearts.

Shikongo further explained that during the training, participants will delve into various dimensions of freedom of expression and journalist safety. Explore the legal frameworks protecting and enabling journalists, the evolving challenges of the digital landscape and the ethical dilemmas encountered in the quest for truth.

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