Press and Media in Namibia

Namibia is a country with a free press. According to the constitution. Considering the overwhelming majority the governing party holds, and the weakness of the opposition, this ought to be an absolutely unconditional guarantee. Public control is, after all, the only remedy against the disease of corruption.

Namibia's TV- and radio broadcaster NBC (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) is unfortunately entirely in government control. In August 2002 president Sam Nujoma dismissed the information minister and claimed the position for himself. Many journalists feared at the time for the freedom of the press in Namibia. Several times, critical journalists were admonished and also the judiciary has been brought into play a few times in the past to suppress unpleasantly critical articles.

Nevertheless, Namibia still respects the freedom of the press relatively well and ranges in this respect high up on this list of African countries.

The print media are concentrated in the capital of Windhoek where at present three dailies and four weeklies are published. The news mainly deal with local and national topics. International affairs are being neglected. Lay-out and printing quality of the newspapers are not fully up to world standards due to small print runs and budgets.

The country's oldest newspaper is the "Allgemeine Zeitung" in German. It is published daily. On the weekends it has a cultural section and once a month a tourism supplement. The "Republikein" is made for the Afrikaans speaking population, also published daily.

The most popular newspaper is the "Namibian" in English language. It is a well made gazette with well-balanced reporting and moderately critical commentatorship. The "Windhoek Observer" is published on the weekends. It is in style and appeal a tabloid as we know them too well from any European country, including pin-ups girls. There is also an economy paper, "Namibia Economist" which comes on the weekends.

Besides these independent papers, there are two newspapers controlled by the government, the "New Era" and the party publication "Namibia Today". Both are weeklies with a small readership.

The Namibian TV programmes are of a deplorable quality. Many Namibians watch South African TV from SABC via satellite respectively international channels via MNET.