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Namibian Journalists invited to Munich

A group of three Namibian journalists was invited by the HSF to spend a week in Munich to be briefed and informed on investigative journalism.

Journalists are considered to be an important part of any free and independent media; as such they are vital when it comes to issues such as good governance, democracy, and transparency and anti-corruption measures. Proper training of journalists does not really exist in most developing countries. Independent and critical reporting is often impossible.
For this reason the HSF invited three of Namibia's best journalists to Munich to be introduced to the following topics: the use of sources, the application of international statistics, the fininding of information, programmes developed by business to combat internal and external corruption, and how to ensure informants' safety.

Further, the participants were introduced to local and regional accounting procedures as possible sources for information.

The offices of Focus, Süddeutsche Zeitung, MünchnerMerkurandBayerischerRundfunk were visited, as well as Transparency International, the Federation of Tax Payers (Bund der Steuerzahler) and the chairman of the Bavarian Parliament's Budget Committee, Mr Georg Winter.

The Namibian participants were quite surprised at the important role of the media in Germany. Of particular interest was the work of the Bavarian Budget Committee and the Bavarian Auditor General. Namibia has similar institutions, but they lack real power in terms of law enforcement and influence. This is true for the Namibia Anti-Corruption Commission as well. The important roles of Transparency International and the Fedeartion of Tax Payers was realised. It was noted that such organisations would be needed in many an African governmental context. The promise to assist with the creation of such bodies was accepted with gratitude.

In their welcoming address, Christian Hegemer, and Klaus Liepert emphasised the importance of free and independent media and the vital role played by journalists in the development and making of a democratic society. This would guarantee transparency in government and society, including the control of the relevant institutions.

The participants expressed that the visit was very helpful for their work.