Namibia: Journalists Fined For Trespassing

namibiaTwo foreign journalists, arrested on 16 July 2009 on allegations of trespassing and working as journalists without accreditation, appeared before Magistrate Harris Salionga at Swakopmund Magistrate Court on 17 July 2009. The two were charged for trespassing in a marine protected area.

The two, South African Filmmaker Bart Smithers, and British Investigative Journalist Jim Wickens, both pleaded guilty and were fined N$10 000 (US$1250) each. The court suspended N$5000 (US$625) for five years on condition that the two are not found guilty of a similar offence in this period.

On 20 July 2009, The Namibian Newspaper reported that although the police claimed to have deleted all footage taken by the two Journalists, some footage was smuggled out and will possibly be aired by the Association of Press world-wide. It is believed that the footage shows that the seal cull is not being done according to prescribed regulations.

According to Namibian Marine Resources Act, trespassing in the marine protected area could cost the offender a fine of N$500 000 or 12 month imprisonment.

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