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Namibia: IFJ Condemns Suspension of State-Owned Newspaper’s Managing Editor

The Managing Editor of state-owned New Era newspaper, Johnathan Beukes, was suspended from work on 2 October after publishing an editorial critical of Namibia’s judiciary. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Namibia Media Professionals Union (NAMPU) in condemning Beukes’ removal from work, which it considers a deliberate attack on media freedom. It calls on the authorities to reinstate the Managing Editor without any delay.

On 2 October, Beukes was suspended from his position without formal charges brought against him, according to a press release issued by NAMPU. The Chief Executive of the publication, Christof Maletsky disclosed no further information and insisted that it is an ‘internal matter’, the media reports.

However, in its statement, the IFJ affiliate expressed the view that the suspension was triggered by a recent editorial entitled ‘No confidence in secretive judiciary’, which is critical of the judicial system.

The union has strongly condemned Beukes’ suspension, signalling that it raises serious concerns about press freedom, journalistic independence, and the protection of journalists’ rights in Namibia.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “When journalists are suspended because of the views they express, it is clearly an attack on media freedom. Beukes has committed no offence, nor broken any rule. Trying to stop him from working is a violation of Namibian citizens’ right to know what is being done in their name”.

The IFJ, together with its affiliate NAMPU, called on the Namibian authorities to reinstate Beukes and to provide a transparent account of the reasons for his suspension. The Federation urges the government to safeguard the rights of journalists and respect the critical role that media play in a democratic society.  

Source : IFJ