Namibian public broadcaster defends editorial independence and restores radio services amidst financial crisis. 

Namibian political party SWAPO have complained to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)criticising their coverage of a party rally on Saturday and urging them to use ‘better footage’. It was suggested that the content was not representative of how many people attended. The NBC has stated that they will not be adhering to this order so as to keep control of their editorial independence.

The public broadcaster received a letter from Hilma Nicanor, SWAPO’s secretary for information and publicity, instructing the footage of the rally at Walvis Bay in the region of Erongo, which was aired on the Saturday bulletin, to be ‘re-run’ the following day. This is because the material allegedly captured only a small crowd of people.

NBC Spokesperson, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, explained that the footage did cover various aspects of the rally; however, they were time constrained as to how much footage could be broadcast due to programme timetabling: “That decision was already made on Saturday after the reporter on site informed us that many important points were discussed at the rally, which we could not accommodate in the Saturday bulletin due to limited time.”

Director General, Stanley Similo, ascertained that whilst they take on board the feedback they receive from their audience, the public broadcaster would ‘remain in control of their editorial powers’, therefore taking the decision to defy the former independence party’s order.

Radio restored

Meanwhile, the NBC have announced that all radio services have been restored. PMA recently reported that radio would continue to be broadcast, although with a reduced schedule due to the austerity measures aimed at alleviating the public broadcaster in the midst of their financial crisis. Television services are still yet to be fully restored.

The latest NBC statement can be read below: 


Header image: Sunset over Windhoek city panorama with mountains in the background, Windhoek, Namibia. Credit: Vadim_Nefedov/iStock