Media Professionals’ Union of Namibia founding congress kicks off

Media Professionals’ Union of Namibia founding congress kicks off

Namibian journalists are unionising. The Media Professionals' Union of Namibia (MPUN) founding congress started at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) this morning.
Jemima Beukes, a reporter for the daily Namibian Sun newspaper said journalists endure harsh working conditions.
She said despite this acclaim of being the freest press on the continent, the working conditions of Namibian journalists who have endured abuses at the hands of their employers and those in power remains a topic often swept under the rug.
She said the Namibian media industry is becoming an increasingly unstable and uncaring employer.
“Many journalists work on month-to-month contracts. Others are often paid late and most are underpaid.
“Many newsrooms have replaced highly experienced staff with an army of interns some of whom do not even receive a stipend,” she said.
Speaking at the opening, Media Ombudsman John Nakuta said journalists must hold themselves accountable, they must hold elected leadership accountable and that their newly found union should hold the media houses who employ them accountable.
He says, fair working conditions are not charity.
Referring to an incident where journalists were arrested in October during a protest against sexual and gender-based violence, he said journalists cannot join a protest and cover it at the same time.
He said that is an infringement on the code of ethics for Namibian journalists.
Nakuta also called on Members of Parliament to stop bickering on who should sit on committees and pass the Access to Information Bill.
He urged the new union to guard their independence and not be captured by any interest.
Founding editor of The Namibian newspaper, Gwen Lister said journalists should be unafraid of controversy and speak truth to power!
She further said good journalism is the best antidote for misinformation.
Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) secretary-general Mahongora Kavihuha says collective bargaining is only observed by 20% of workers in Namibia.
He says Namibian laws limit exercising workers’ only power; to withhold your labour.
“As a union, you'll operate in a tense environment but you don't need permission from anyone to exist.”
Elections for leaders will be conducted after the union's constitution is adopted.