The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo, says it is every Namibian's duty to ensure that the country maintains its status as a democracy, especially when it comes to press freedom.

Shikongo made these remarks at the opening of a four-day training workshop for NamPol regional community affairs, community policing, and public relations officers in the capital on Monday.

The workshop is aimed at enhancing the competencies and abilities of the 30 participants, who hail from all 14 regions of the country. This will enable them to use all forms of media and informational communication tools and to mutually build beneficial relations between the Namibian Police Force and its stakeholders.

In his keynote address, the NamPol Inspector General, Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo, highlighted the importance of the workshop, adding that participants should fully exploit the benefits presented for the good of the force and the nation at large.

"The workshop is further aimed at capacitating the participants to deliver effective mitigating approaches when dealing with the public through various media platforms and crime prevention without compromising the integrity of the Force. I was reliably informed that the workshop will also cover a variety of lectures but not limited to Disclosure of Information, News Gathering, The Concept of Community Policing; The Dissemination of Regional Information to the Media, The Sharing of Information on Ongoing Criminal Investigations, Freedom of Expression."

On her part, the Head of the NamPol Public Relations Department, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, says public relations tasks and responsibilities are often undermined and underrated, as they are perceived to be an ordinary job of just sharing information.

"The collecting, editing, and filtering of the information that happened in the background is usually not recognized, and that is the area that is most important and needs expert development. Like I always say, a message is not only taken from what you say but how you say it is equally important."

The workshop will, among other things, cover lectures on news gathering, the concept of community policing, freedom of expression, and media ethics.

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Maria Kaalushu