WINDHOEK – The DTA of Namibia has accused the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation of giving coverage to political rallies that allegedly favours Swapo at the expense of its political rivals. The DTA says since election campaigns kicked off a month ago with election fever gaining momentum ahead of the November presidential and National Assembly elections, the NBC deliberately gives prominent coverage to the ruling Swapo Party at the expense of the opposition. Nico Smith of the DTA of Namibia yesterday alleged that the NBC television service deliberately portrayed their political rally held at Opuwo over the weekend as having been poorly attended. “In Opuwo we had a good, well attended rally. We had more than 3 000 supporters in attendance. But the NBC coverage that we got was biased. They only showed a few Himba women and children. They even zoomed the camera to show the president’s (McHenry Venaani’s) face small without showing the whole crowd,” he charged yesterday during the launch of the NBC’s election coverage policy and guidelines. Smith also alleged that Swapo’s rallies, particularly the one in Khorixas which was addressed by Dr Hage Geingob, received fair and balanced coverage compared to those of minority political parties. In response, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joël Kaapanda, reminded the NBC staff to be guided by their policy on election coverage as they execute the national mandate entrusted upon them. “Your role is to report on events as they happen and you should at all times guard against personal preferences creeping into your coverage or reporting of events. This simple message to you is to remain impartial at all times. We are not here to make political parties lose deliberately. We are going to give fair and equal coverage to all political parties,” assured Kaapanda. He emphasised that all state-owned media houses should ensure they provide equal coverage to all political parties and remain impartial at all times. The government has allocated over N$9 million to NBC of which N$5 million will be used for capital expenditure and the rest for operational purposes. Meanwhile, the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) Deputy Secretary General, Vetaruhe Kandorozu, also expressed his discontent with the NBC coverage saying Nudo’s core messages are normally not aired. “I have a problem with how the editing is done. When I look at our manifesto launch, the core messages on the challenges facing the country where the electorate can decide and see how the government failed were not shown on NBC TV. The NBC engine room hardly shows these core messages,” lamented Kandorozu. Against this, Kaapanda urged all political parties to report any incidences of biased election coverage during the regular meetings that will be held as part of the election forum. The election forum is a platform which allows the NBC to engage participating political parties with the aim to ensure that all their concerns are addressed timeously. In the NBC policy there is a clause which describes the NBC’s commitment to avail free and equal airtime on radio and television to all political parties or candidates contesting elections. He said political parties that might require additional slots to those allocated by the NBC as part of free airtime allocation, can also buy their own airtime for their campaign messages. Paid-for political messages will not exceed ten minutes and the minimum duration is 30 seconds. Kaapanda however warned that the launched election policy does not in any way replace the existing editorial policy of the NBC but will simply enhance equitable coverage of political parties’ activities and airtime allocation. NBC Director General, Albertus Aochamub, explained that the total allocation of airtime to political parties would be decided after the announcement of the parties contesting the elections. He added that the number of days left from the time of registration of parties to the election date, and the number of registered political parties, would be key variables in the allocation formula. He said political parties and candidates may present their TV contributions in any language of their choice, but such must be accompanied by an English script. With radio, he said, all contributions on national radio should be presented in English only.
New Era Reporter
2014-10-15 07:32:08 4 years ago