World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of Unesco’s general conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
Namibia played a prominent part in defending press freedom: it was the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration of 3 May 1991, which was chosen as the date for World Press Freedom Day. The Windhoek Declaration is a statement of free press principles put together by newspaper journalists in Africa during a Unesco seminar on ‘Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press’ in Windhoek, Namibia from 29 April to 3 May 1991. This document calls for free, independent, pluralistic media worldwide, characterising a free press as essential to democracy and as a fundamental human right.
It reflects the great importance of a free media system for the democratic development of any country. Meaning: only free and independent media – private as well as state−owned – can fulfil its role as ‘fourth estate’ in every democracy. Namibia has for many years scored the highest on the World Press Freedom Index in Africa, and 17th worldwide.
Over the past years, Germany has contributed to this development in many different ways. In addition, Germany is prepared to continue assisting Namibia on this path, while today we acknowledge and celebrate what we have achieved so far. Since Namibia gained independence in 1990, the Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie has worked closely with media professionals across the country. For a long time, the focus of this collaboration was radio journalism and broadcasting services of the state broadcaster NBC.
Since 2011, the DW Akademie has broadened its activities to include community radios and their umbrella organisation NCBN (Namibian Broadcasters Network) as well as the College of the Arts (Cota) and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa).
Since 2002, Windhoek has been the home of fesmedia Africa, the media project for Sub−Saharan Africa of the German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Fesmedia Africa supports actions for improved access to information (ATI) at both the continental and national levels, and conducts and publishes the referential African Media Barometers (AMB).