Namibia is one of the African countries that most respect press freedom. Despite the occasional blistering statement by government officials, the media are free and there is no major obstacle to the circulation of news.
A journalist detained
Paulus Sackarias of the daily Republikein and Simon Haimbodi, his driver, were arrested on 8 November 2003 in the northern Omusati region by members of the Special Field Force (SFF), a paramilitary group that helps the Namibian police. Sackarias was accused of taking a road reserved for the authorities and lacking official accreditation. He and his driver were taken to a neighbouring base and released four hours later, but their vehicle was not returned until three days later.
Harassment and obstruction
In comments on 14 August 2003, President Sam Nujoma berated the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), a regional organisation that defends free expression, and The Namibian, an independent newspaper. He accused the MISA of insulting him and other African presidents in its letters raising press freedom issues, while he charged The Namibian with lacking professionalism and being "reactionary." He also advised a reporter with the state-owned Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Andreas Frai, not to assist the MISA.