Ndanki Kahiurika, "Lister calls for more Govt transparency," namibian.com.na
The Namibian newspaper's former editor Gwen Lister has called on government to be more open about its international dealings, including agreements.
Lister said this when she addressed a session on public diplomacy, media and Namibia's international relations and cooperation during the foreign policy conference in Windhoek yesterday.
She said if government does so, it would be in keeping with the promise of an access to information law to facilitate the right to know on the part of both the media and the public.
The government, she further said, can no longer expect the people to fall obediently in line without a new spirit of openness and transparency about dealings with other nations.
Lister also called for the demystification and clarification of policies for the benefit of all Namibians so that they can feel more involved as citizens, and hopefully portray a positive image abroad.
Presidential press secretary Albertus Aochamub said during the same session that corruption, poverty, the fiscal environment, governance and the media landscape have been improved, although the media continues to report as if there has been no change.
Aochamub said the Mo Ibrahim prize gave Namibia 65 points out of a possible 100 for accountability, and placed the country at number 45 out of 180 in terms of transparency.
“It is common knowledge that everyone will focus on things that do not go well. It seems to have a negative headline works better than when you talk about the progress the country has made. Although it is also true that a lot of our media have shared good news, my view is that it is not enough. We spend a lot of time complaining,” he stated.
Aochamub said it is being reported that poverty has been getting worse in Namibia, but this is not what the figures say, as it has been on the decline since 2001, while income inequality has also been declining since 1993.
The media, he said, continues to report that there is a lot of corruption at government level, with a lot of stealing and overspending, but people around the world say that Namibia has improved globally, according to Transparency International.
He said in terms of effective governance, Namibia has been rated number five in Africa.
Andreas Guibeb, Namibian ambassador to Germany, spoke on behalf of Maureen Hinda, the deputy minister of international relations, and said the domestic media should steer away from “blatant distortion of reality” through poorly researched sensationalist and partisan reporting which misrepresents the objective reality.