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Editors’ Forum of Namibia launches new book on Windhoek Declaration

Editors’ Forum of Namibia launches new book on Windhoek Declaration

Namibia’s minister of higher education and innovation, Itah Kandji-Murangi, on Wednesday launched a book on press freedom, independence and pluralism.

“It was launched last night at a ceremony in Windhoek to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Namibia National Commission for UNESCO,” said the editor and coordinator of the book, Elizabeth Kalambo M’ule in an e-mail to Nigerian Sketch on Thursday.

The book, titled Tracing the footprints of the Windhoek Declaration and Charting the Windhoek +30 Declaration, was published by the Editors’ Forum of Namibia (EFN), a non-profit, non-governmental voluntary organisation comprising editors and senior journalists of Namibia’s print, broadcasting and online media.

The book’s idea was conceived to commemorate the Windhoek Declaration of 1991, in which a total of 63 participants from 38 African countries participated.

The 1991 UNESCO seminar in Windhoek focused on the role of a free, independent and pluralistic media amidst constant pressures and violence faced by African media professionals.

But since the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991, the global media landscape has witnessed significant changes “with challenges to media freedom such as attacks on journalists, the virulent spread of false information, especially online, while the viability of traditional media is further challenged and weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the executive director, Namibia’s ministry of information and communication technology, Dr Audrin Mathe, in his preface to the book.

He added that “the Windhoek +30 Declaration on ‘Information as a Public Good’ was adopted by acclamation by all 193 members, attending the 41st session of UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris on 18 November 2021”

Funded by the government of the Republic of Namibia and supported by UNESCO Participation Programme, the book, consisting of 212 pages, received contributions from 23 African editors and academics. The chapter on Nigeria was authored by Nigerian Sketch’s editor-in-chief, Yusuf Abdulsalam.

Yusuf Abdulsalam, Editors' Forum of Namibia, new book, Windhoek Declaration, Elizabeth Kalambo M'ule
Yusuf Abdulsalam contributed the chapter on Nigeria

Dr Mathe, urged that “Governments have to commit to create a positive enabling environment for freedom of expression and access to information, online and offline, in line with international guarantees of these rights. In addition, governments are urged to adopt appropriate legal measures in a transparent manner after adequate public consultation and to promote, among others, universal access to the Internet. They are also admonished to take measures to reinforce the safety of journalists, with a specific focus on women journalists.”


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