The freedom of expression is recognised in Chapter 3 of the Constitution. Namibia ranks higher on media freedom indices than most African states, and a media ombudsman office has been in existence since 2009 and acts independently of the government. The state broadcaster depends financially on the government and tend to express government viewpoints, although there are also some programmes where people are given a chance to share other opinions, and the government-funded newspaper New Era also covers critical material.The government occasionally reacts angrily to criticism and makes threats; this may lead to self-censorship. A number of privately-owned newspapers are critical of the government. There are no restrictions on internet access and growing use of social media to express dissent, although limited internet infrastructure remains a challenge.A decade-long ban on government advertising in The Namibian, the leading English language daily newspaper, was lifted in 2011.Defamation remains a criminal offence.There is no access to information law, although civil society has campaigned for this and the government has committed to introducing one. In general, there is a tendency towards secrecy. Under the 2009 Communications Act, state intelligence services can monitor internet usage without requiring judicial approval, while some apartheid-era secrecy laws remain on the books.
Civic Space Developments