Journalists are subjected to many threats. This increases the environment of fear for journalists. When crimes against journalists go unpunished, this creates media censorship. New forms of threats develop every day, especially against women journalists. If crimes against journalists go unpunished, then freedom of speech is not free.
The quote "Journalism can never be silent; that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault" is indeed a fact, as journalists hold a profound amount of power because they choose to use their voices as weapons of truth and justice. The downside of this choice is that many journalists are threatened, harmed or killed because of their field of profession, and the perpetrators go unpunished. Consequently, when journalists are endangered, the society as a whole is in jeopardy as fear becomes prominent and the community is diverted further from veracity. Freedom of speech, creativity, free exchange of ideas and opinions become unrealistic and far-fetched concepts, causing the development and growth of a nation to stagnate.
Ultimately, the impunity of crimes against journalists is not only a disservice to journalists but also the destruction of a democratic society.
Ending impunity for crimes against journalists is one of the most pressing issues to guarantee freedom of expression and access to information for all citizens. While killings are the most extreme form of media censorship, journalists are also subjected to countless threats. Threats of violence and attacks against journalists, in particular, create a climate of fear for media professionals, impeding the free circulation of information, opinions and ideas for all citizens. Thus, it is imperative that impunity for crimes against journalists are ended to ensure true press freedom.
Namibia is regarded as safe for media practitioners, but this cannot be wholly true.
However, we see international journalists all over the world, especially Arabian journalists, suffer at the hands of their authorities. Journalists are there to speak up for those that cannot, and they hold those in power accountable for their actions. If the state does not address crime against journalists, it will pretty much be a lawless society in shambles. We have a role to play in our society; taking us out means taking out the backbone of our country.
The fact that crimes of a violent nature still occur against journalists in 2022 is sad. Journalists offer their countries and the world the opportunity to use our voices when they feel like they can't use their own. We are not mouthpieces, because those can be discarded at any point. We are the voices of our people. So, don't shoot the messenger. Don't mute the voices.
Iréne-Mari van der Walt
J Journalists are humans – end of story. Solely on that merit, the crimes against them should be treated as a crime against any other person in any other profession. As the political watchdog, the media should be allowed to interrogate the decisions of our leaders and hold them accountable without fear of being treated as subhuman.