The Namibian Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, MISA Namibia, has come out strongly against the decision by the Polytechnic of Namibia issuing a decree that its premises are a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œno-go area for journalists covering student events, according to a media release.
According to the article in the New Era of 23 July 2008, titled 'Journalists Barred from Polytechnic', journalists cannot enter the Polytechnic premises unless authorized by the Rector or the Vice RectorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
The National Director of MISA Namibia, Mathew Haikali, expressed disappointment in the decision taken by the Polytechnic.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI am disappointed at the decision because they are training student journalists and if these students cannot become investigative journalists then all that training is in vain. As a public institution, Polytechnic is supposed to be transparent in everything they do and not put restrictions on journalists, especially if they are training journalists.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
In agreement with Haikali is former MISA Namibia chairperson in an Ex-officio capacity, Christof Maletsky, who expressed shock about Polytechnic's decision.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œFor an institution that prides itself in offering top class quality education, especially to journalists, we did not expect such drastic measures.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The Polytechnic, and all of us, know that the decision is unacceptable. We look forward to another statement from Polytechnic withdrawing the first one. As media trainers, they need to know better,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Maletsky said.
New Era journalist and author of the story in question, Desie Heita says, he experienced difficulties when he tried to gain access to the Polytechnic premises to write a story on student matters. Heita explains he was ordered not to enter the premises at all because of the nature of his profession.
Meanwhile, MISA Namibia's attempts to get comment from both the Polytechnic Rector, Tjama Tjivikua, and Dean of Students, Frieda Shimbuli, proved futile as they were both unavailable for comment.