Public Service Broadcasting

Namibia: Presidency Rejects Calls To Intervene In Public Broadcaster's Situation

To recall, last week, the Namibia Media Professionals Union (NAMPU), together with the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) workers, marched to the Parliament building to get the attention of the Speaker of the House Professor Peter Katjivi, whom they hoped would accept their petition.

Since then, NAMPU filed a lawsuit against the country's national broadcaster and wrote a letter requesting President Hage Geingob to intervene by providing a suitable solution to the ongoing strike. Responding to the request, President Geingob delegated the task of intervention to Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

The President, through a letter, said that he believed that NBC employees had not yet explored all avenues before deciding to strike. Additionally, the President was indicated saying that his intervention would be more directive than negotiable. Therefore, following the petition submitted to the government, the National Union of Namibian Workers would be the exclusive bargaining unit to address the matter with the government, said Geingob. Furthermore, the President said that he would await the outcome of the petition without interfering.

Weighing on the state of matters, one of the labour experts in Namibia said that, based on his observation, NBC could not be liquidated as a national broadcaster is an essential entity for providing access to information. The expert said the government should have anticipated the subsidy cut and strategized accordingly.  The NBC employees have been on strike for the last few weeks demanding salary increments and better working conditions. The strike was a result of allegations that management had awarded themselves backdated bonuses amounting to N$5.4 million (US$362 648).

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