Namibia loses top African spot on press freedom index

Namibia has lost its top spot on the World Press Freedom Index of 2022 for Africa, emerging as number two.

Seychelles is now the freest country in Africa in terms of press freedom at number one, and took the 13th spot in the World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders.

Namibia has moved from 2021’s 24th position, claiming the 18th position for 2022 on the World Press Freedom Index.

Norway has the freest press in the world, according to the index.

Looking at the southern African region, South Africa moved from number 32 to number 35 on the global index, while taking the third position in Africa.

Botswana emerged at number 95, after being ranked 38th in 2021.

Angola occupies position number 99, from number 103 in 2021, while Zambia is 109th, after being ranked 115th in 2021.

Zimbabwe is far behind at the 137th position.

Meanwhile, North Korea has been ranked as performing the worst in terms of press freedom.

The global report comes at a time when World Press Freedom Day was celebrated by journalists worldwide on Tuesday, under the theme ‘Journalism Under Digital Siege’.

The day coincides with the signing of the Windhoek +30 Declaration.

The Namibian government says Namibia’s ranking reflects the country’s long-held commitment to ensuring that media practitioners are constitutionally guaranteed press freedom and independence.

Namibia Media Trust (NMT) chairperson Gwen Lister on her official Twitter page says she thinks Namibia would have stayed at the top in terms of being the freest press in Africa if the access to information law had been enacted and if the government spoke out on global media freedom and rights-based issues.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says it is great for Namibia to be among the global top 20.

NMT hosted a special edition of its #FreeSpeak podcast as part of the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day.

NMT director Zoé Titus said it is important to celebrate journalists, and that it is not done enough.

Speaking at the event on Friday, Titus said journalists are on the receiving end of a great deal of abuse and threats hence it is critical to celebrate their work.

She warned that although Namibia ranks among the top in Africa in terms of press freedom, the country is not immune.

Veteran journalist Brigitte Weidlich said it is astonishing that Namibia suddenly gained six places and is at number 18 globally, only two places behind Germany, which is an industrial nation.


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