Michael Linke 0

Real action on Algemeine Zeitung's offensive photographs

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Last week the Algemeine Zeitung (AZ), Namibia’s national German-language newspaper, published photographs of people wearing blackface and dressed in Ku Klux Klan uniforms at a Swakopmund event. To the dismay of many Namibians both within and outside the German-Namibian community, the photos were published with uncritical captions that celebrated the creativity of the costumes.

Both the act of dressing in these costumes and the publication of the photographs are in contravention of the Racial Discrimination Prohibition Act. Yet what we have seen in the aftermath of the publication is that there is little consequence for publishing material that any thinking person would find offensive. The AZ’s apology, and the subsequent statement from the Namibia Editor’s Forum, did nothing more than the minimum necessary in the face of the general public outcry on social media and newspaper letters pages.

This petition therefore calls for real change and real consequences through the following measures: 1) The editor responsible on the day of publication should be dismissed.

2) We call on advertisers to boycott AZ for one month, from July 15 to August 15, to show that they do not endorse the newspaper’s actions in publishing these photos.

3) We call on AZ to include content that examines what everyone knows exists but few people talk about: the problem of racism in sections of the German-Namibian community. AZ should include a page worth of content every week that promotes discussion and examination of this issue.

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