National Council and media should work together: Mensah-Williams

10 Feb 2016 16:50pm
WINDHOEK, 10 FEB (NAMPA) - The National Council (NC) and local media have to build a strong professional relationship, NC Chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams says.
“If this relationship can be fortified it will result in fair and accurate reporting which will assist us to legislate and scrutinise Government performance and be accountable to the electorate,” she said.
Mensah-Williams made these remarks during a presentation on the relationship between the media and Parliament as part of an ongoing training workshop of National Council Standing Committees here on Wednesday.
She suggested that in order to build the relation, the NC has to involve the media in policy deliberations and other activities of national interest that the Upper House of Parliament will undertake.
Parliament is the law-making body of Namibia's legislature and consists of two chambers.
The National Council consists of 42 members. It advises the National Assembly (NA) on any required changes to subordinate laws that result from law-making in the NA, and can be tasked by the NA to perform other tasks.
The National Assembly (Lower chamber) initiates and approves laws. It consists of 104 members elected by parliamentary election.
Mensah-Williams added that Members of Parliament (MPs) also need to have an open-door policy towards the media and refrain from the “outdated response” of “no comment”.
“When you tell the media 'no comment', what the media hears is that you know what they are talking about and you are just not telling them,” she explained.
The chairperson noted that both Parliament and the media should do all they can to inform citizens about parliamentary activities and its role, so as to help empower the public on the work of the legislative body of government.
Looking at the role of the media in parliamentary reporting, Mensah-Williams said the media has assumed a more pivotal position when it comes to reporting the activities of Parliament and likewise when it comes to reporting on individual politicians.
“Therefore, we should maximise and grab the opportunity with both hands if we are to effectively communicate our various political agendas and the inner workings of Parliament, especially on promoting the work of the NC to the general public,” she said.