Journalists lay assault charges against police

Journalists lay assault charges against police

Journalists who responded to an invitation from the Presidency, to attend the commissioning of a COVID-19 isolation facility at Windhoek Central Hospital, were denied access and escorted from the venue by the police.
They have now opened a case of assault (CR 86/06/2020) against officers who removed them.
At the occasion, reporters whose names were not on a list, including NBC staff, were denied entry.
Jemima Beukes of the Namibian Sun and Charmaine Ngatjiheue of The Namibian were some of those blocked from covering the event this morning.
The journalists have been informed that they are not allowed inside as part of the government’s regulate not to have more than 50 people at a gathering.
"At this point, I live in fear," said Beukes.
"I feel we were deliberately shut out because we ask too many questions which have often embarrassed the President and his ministers," she said.
Ngatjiheue said, "a few colleagues and I were standing outside the fenced area and we tried to raise our concerns with the relevant people such as the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) and the health ministry but this proved futile.
"Jemima [Beukes] and I eventually decided to stage a peaceful protest and walked inside the venue because we felt we were being censored by the Presidency and the Government as a whole. We walked in and the police chased after us, and eventually caught up to us, placed their hands on us in a rough manner and tried to pull us towards the exit but that did not deter us because we wanted to take a picture and Jemima kept saying let’s keep moving. The officer who held me was not as rough but the one who handled Jemima was too rough, pulling and pushing her, to a point that she almost leaned against the car. Mind you, this was in full view of the president.
"At the exit, a policewoman nonchalantly asked us, ‘what if you were shot’," said Ngatjiheue.
Several journalists expressed outrage on social media at the treatment of journalists at the event and called the barring of journalists censorship.
RSF rated Namibia first in Africa and 23rd in the world in its annual World Press Freedom Index.
Questions sent to Dr Alfredo Hengari, the Presidency's Press Secretary went unanswered.