WINDHOEK, 19 JUN – The Editor’s Forum of Namibia (EFN) said the High Court ruling in the case between The Patriot and the Namibia Central Intelligence Services (NCIS) has sent a strong message against media censoring under the veil of national security.
On Monday, Judge Herold Geier ruled in favour of The Patriot when he dismissed, with costs, the case in which the NCIS had attempted to stop the newspaper from publishing an article exposing several alleged dubious properties owned by the service, alleged corruption and malpractice.
In a statement issued late Monday afternoon, EFN’s Secretary General Alna Dall threw her weight behind the judgement.
“The dismissal of the application, with costs, is an immense victory for freedom of speech, and democracy in Namibia,” said Dall.
In his ruling, Geier said law should not and must never be used as guise to conceal corruption or alleged illegal activities.
In addition, Dall said the verdict sets a firm precedence for those who want to attempt to censor the media in the name of “national security”.
The EFN then commended the Namibian judiciary for upholding freedom of the media as stated in Article 21 of Namibia’s Constitution.
On 11 April, NCIS Director General Philemon Malima, filed an urgent High Court application against The Patriot and its editor, Mathias Haufiku, in a bid to prevent the publication of an article about immovable properties allegedly bought with public funds and being used by the NCIS and former members of the spy agency which cost taxpayers around N. dollars 65 million.
However, nine days later, Geier reserved his judgement on the matter for 30 April 2018, which was later moved to 18 June 2018.
When approached by Nampa shortly after the case’s dismissal, Haufiku said: “This is not about The Patriot winning or the NCIS losing. At the end of the day, what the NCIS is doing or should be doing must be in the in interest of Namibia. What the media is doing should be in the interest of Namibia. So, Namibia won. Democracy won.”