Media

Namibia’s apex court confirms new trend in media freedom cases

In a new judgment of extraordinary importance for freedom of expression and media freedom in Namibia, that country’s highest court has confirmed the development of the common law to give greater protection to the Namibian media so that, as the court put it, its ‘important democratic role of providing information to the public is not imperilled by the risk of defamation claims.’

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This new judgment illustrates how Namibia’s highest court is determined to protect media freedom, given its constitutional importance in that country. But behind the theoretical questions lie contested facts concerning the fate of three elephants, and a defamation case against the Namibian Sun, arising out of this dispute.

Freedom of speech supports good governance says President of Sierra Leone

Things are looking up for the media in Sierra Leone. For decades journalists have been harassed by a colonial-era law that created the offence of criminal libel. And as recently as four months ago this section was used against a journalist and publisher who spent 50 days in detention before being freed on bail. Then, last week, the country’s President, Julius Maada Bio, signed the death certificate of the section used against the media, a step already begun in July when some members of parliament repealed this part of the law.

When Sierra Leone’s president, Julius Maada Bio, delivered the final blow to his country’s long outdated Public Order Act last week, he also took a strong step towards entrenching free speech and creating a vital, free media.

How judges can help court reporters - plea from 2019 Judicial Dialogue

Unesco’s invitation to speak at an event associated with the Judicial Dialogue in Uganda last month included a request for practical ways in which the judiciary could ‘make life easier’ for members of the media who write about the courts. Here are some of the suggestions put to senior judges, and that made for interesting discussion.

Judicial accountability takes on an additional dimension in an era of online access. Sure, judges are held accountable through the judgments they write. But in an era of online access those judgments need to be available and in the public domain as soon as possible.

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