Judge says Namibia media friendly

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) founding Trust Fund Board chairperson, Zimbabwe-born High Court Judge John Manyarara said because of the enabling media environment prevailing in the country it was befitting for the regional office to be based in Windhoek. Manyarara was speaking as Guest of Honour at the farewell cocktail party for outgoing MISA regional director, Luckson Chipare. “In my view, it is fitting that Namibia should have been chosen as the headquarters of MISA, not only because the Windhoek Declaration was adopted here, but also because, Namibia, like Mozambique, is among the more media friendly countries of the SADC region . . . I am not aware of any media practitioners or institution being prosecuted for exercising the media profession,” said Manyarara. He said Chipare would be remembered for his role in championing media freedom in the region. “It is evident that he has served MISA well as an organisation as well as the cause of media freedom in Southern Africa. “This was probably not easy but I believe that Chipare succeeded and earned himself a well deserved retirement from the position of executive director of MISA,” he said. He however reminded Chipare that media freedom activism was an ongoing process that he could not retire from entirely. Chipare is the third MISA regional director since the organisation was created in 1992 as a follow-up to the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on freedom of expression. Chipare said over the years he had learnt a lot from the challenging job of advocating for press freedom and garnering funding for institution. “It has been very challenging experience. I really want to thank you very much for the support, especially the donors,” said Chipare who also wished the organisation prosperity. The incoming MISA regional director Kaitira Kandji said it was sad that Chipare under whom he had worked well was leaving the institution. “It is a sad day for us. What he (Chipare) has done to MISA is invaluable. “The ball is rolling very well, I just have to speed it up,” said Kandji who until his new appointment was regional manager for Freedom of Expression and Advocacy. He said although governments in the region were responding to the need for media freedom, they still needed to open up.

April 2006
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