Namibia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Namibia

Namibia

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

34

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

12

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

13

The constitution guarantees the rights to free speech and a free press, and Namibia is considered one of the more press-friendly countries in Africa. However, the government does sometimes restrict press freedom. In recent years, defamation lawsuits and other forms of legal action have been filed against several newspapers. Independent newspapers and radio and television stations criticize the government openly without explicit interference. Nevertheless, journalists at state-run media outlets have reportedly been subjected to indirect and direct pressure to avoid reporting on controversial topics, and they consequently practice self-censorship. In August of 2002, President Sam Nujoma appointed himself minister of information and broadcasting, prompting fears that he intended to assert further official control over the state-owned Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), which operates most television and radio services. One year later, the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Namibia continued to voice concerns about government reluctance to grant the NBC greater independence. Journalists are subject to verbal harassment and threats by government officials. The state's official advertising and purchasing bans on The Namibian remained in place as a result of the independent daily's critical coverage of President Nujoma and his government.