Lister inspires students to value information

2019-03-25

Executive Chairperson of the Namibia Media Trust (NMT) Gwen Lister has encouraged students at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) to recognise the importance of quality information in building a knowledge-based society.

Lister delivered a keynote speech at the launch of the university’s Media and Communications Society, where she addressed issues of free expression and access to information and how students may elevate such issues through the newly inaugurated society.

Amongst other things, Lister impressed upon students their role in advancing the country’s democracy through access to quality information and participation.

“Most people think access to information is something only for the journalists, but all citizens need information because quality democracy is about participation. People cannot participate in their own development if they are not free to speak and air their opinions and, more importantly, to do so if they are not properly informed,” she said.

She added that access still remains something which is primarily for the elite and urban dwellers adding that while more people are connected than ever before, especially on social media, there are still many marginalised communities who are not; a situation which according to her, threatens the country’s democracy as a large percentage of the population does not have access.

She challenged students to not only be an active force in supporting free expression and access to information campaigns but to also assist fellow citizens who are unable to demand their rights by educating them in the process of seeking reputable and verifiable sources of information.

“The NUST Media and Communication Society can do a lot to conscientise students about not only their rights but their duties as active and involved citizens,” Lister suggested.

The society’s founder and president, third year Communications student Eline Nyau, said the society plans to provide students with a platform to address issues of national interest and afford them a platform to freely express their concerns.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Hugh Ellis who is a lecturer in the department of communication and patron of the society, thanked Lister and other speakers for their words of encouragement to the students.

“We will certainly bear your words in mind with regard to ATI, educating ourselves and others on the importance of verifying information and using digital media responsibly,” he said.

* By EMILIA PAULUS

PHOTO FROM LEFT: Communications intern in the Marketing Department, Uetuesa Karuihe, Deputy Head of Department of the Communication, Dr. Rewai Makamani, Lecturer in the Department of Communications, Dr Hugh Ellis and NUST Brand Champion, Cherley Du Plessis (Emilia Paulus).