There are fewer people than ever who support media freedom from government interference and as a result, citizens suffer the consequences.
This is according to Zoe Titus and it is something she would like to change as the newly elected Namibia Media Trust (NMT) Foundation director.
“I hope to initiate and sustain – through collaboration and other means – actions that advance the right to media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information in Namibia and beyond its borders,” Titus said.
Titus was ushered in as the foundation's director in February 2020, having been promoted from the position of strategic coordinator at NMT, a post she held for four years.
“Since I started at the NMT in 2016 I’ve initiated many actions which I hope to grow nationally and beyond the borders of Namibia. Among them are the NMT’s annual YouthQuake, a platform for Namibian youth designed to empower young people with knowledge and information needed to strengthen youth participation in decision-making,” she said.
NMT’s work goes beyond Namibia’s borders. In a recent press statement, NMT executive chairperson Gwen Lister expressed her faith in Titus expanding the foundation’s work.
Lister highlighted that in 2019, the NMT foundation hosted the southern African consultation on the review of the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa.
“Its training programme is rapidly expanding in response to the need for reskilling of newsrooms in Namibia and the subregion,” Lister said.
Titus said she “embraces” her new appointment and that it shows the confidence the NMT board of trustees has in her.
“[I] look forward to many opportunities to collaborate with like-minded partners, and even those that do not at first share the sentiments, to advance media freedom and free expression as critical elements of our democracies,” Titus said.
The Reporters Without Borders 2019 World Press Freedom Index notes that Namibia’s constitution “guarantees free speech and protects journalists”. The country ranks 23 out of 180 countries – the best ranking for an African country for 2019.
While Namibia ranks favourably, the index says the Namibian government often threatens or insults journalists who criticise local authorities.