World Press Freedom Day – 3 May

Statement by US Charge d’Affaires Jess Long
On World Press Freedom Day, we celebrate the determination of Namibian journalists and media professionals who continue to be the beacons of press freedom on the African continent.

In 2021 Namibia again had Africa’s freest press and ranked 24th out of 180 countries globally on the World Press Freedom Index. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Under this year’s theme “Journalism under Digital Siege,” World Press Freedom Day shines needed light on how surveillance impacts journalism, freedom of expression, and privacy. Malware and spyware are increasingly being used against journalists and human rights defenders. The growing sophistication and undetectability of malware and spyware endanger free and independent journalism.

The day also serves as a reminder to governments of their need to defend press freedom and protect journalists. Responsible journalism, which is arguably the best vaccine against the virus of disinformation, plays an essential role in keeping democracy alive. It has been a cornerstone of US democracy and our way of life since it was enshrined in our Bill of Rights. Similarly, here in Namibia, the 1991 Windhoek Declaration was adopted as an affirmation of press freedom. It was a bold and forward-looking statement that has helped to change the world for the better over the last 31 years. And it is the responsibility of today’s journalists to continue carrying this beacon.

I’d like to extend my thanks to the journalists and media community in Namibia. You are at the forefront, and I have appreciated your professionalism and commitment when working with you as U.S. Chargé d’Affaires.