Namibia to champion press freedom at global conference in Chile

Niël Terblanché

Namibia’s recognition as the African leader in press freedom has placed it at the forefront of the global dialogue on media independence and environmental journalism.

 The  Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Emma Theofelus, is set to lead a delegation to the 31st World Press Freedom Day global conference in Santiago, Chile from 2 -4 May.

This was confirmed by MICT acting executive director Frans Nghitila on Tuesday in a media statement.

“With a theme focused on the critical role of journalism in addressing the environmental crisis, the conference will explore how freedom of expression can contribute to sustainability and democracy,” he said.

Namibia’s pioneering efforts in press freedom date back to the Windhoek Declaration of 1991, which set a global benchmark for media independence.

This historic document emerged from a seminar held in Windhoek, advocating for a free, independent, and pluralistic press as the cornerstone of democracy and development.

The Windhoek Declaration not only inspired the establishment of World Press Freedom Day by UNESCO but also encouraged similar declarations worldwide, promoting media freedom across various continents.

Namibia currently stands 22nd in the global Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders.

Nghitila said the upcoming conference will offer a platform for the minister to highlight the country’s ongoing commitment to the principles of press freedom.

“World Press Freedom Day, which is observed on 3 May annually, is an important opportunity for the international community to collectively reflect on multidimensional challenges, the fundamental role of journalism and the transformative power of information to protect our planet, achieve sustainable development and consolidate democracies,” he said.

He added that discussions will delve into the role journalists play in informing the public about environmental issues, shaping policy, and driving societal change.

Nghitila said that the fact that the conference has been going on for 31 years, is proof of the intertwined nature of press freedom and sustainable development.

He added that the conference resonates with Namibia’s own trajectory towards a more informed and engaged society.

Related Posts