Introduction to Namibian News Media
Namibia is a country located in southwest Africa, famously known for the Namib Desert along one of its coasts to the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Namibia is also small but the media is quite diverse and developed in the nation.
In 2010, Namibia had as many as 19 radio stations, excluding the community radio stations, five daily newspapers with several other weekly newspapers, magazines and journals. As far as the TV network is concerned, only two TV channels were operating in Namibia by 2010. Within a span of four years, the count of TV channels rose to three, with 13 newspapers and 25 radio stations.
The foreign media, especially prominent newspapers and news agencies from South Africa, are also quite popular for their news coverage of Namibia.
The online media is also going strong in the African nation as new news websites are emerging every year. However, most of these websites run news stories based on the content published in print media.
State Owned Media
Namibia has a state-owned news agency called Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA), which was founded by the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) as Namibia Press Association in 1987.
The press agency was revived after independence and renamed as NAMPA in 1991.
Registered under the Namibia Press Agency Act of 1992, NAMPA is responsible for providing news text and pictures to its local and international subscribing newspapers and websites. No audio or video content is provided by NAMPA to any of its subscribers.
The news agency has employed staff of over 50 people, with around 20 journalists among them. NAMPA has its headquarter in Windhoek, with regional offices in Swakopmund, Gobabis, Ongwediva/Oshakati, Opuwo and Rundu.
Most of the newspapers, magazines or news websites operating in Namibia majorly rely on NAMPA for international news. However, the Committee to Protect Journalists claimed in 2002 that the state-owned news agency has “…long practiced self-censorship on contentious issues”. The body also accused NAMPA of being a mouthpiece for the government.
Namibia got its name from the Namib Desert, which is the oldest desert in the world. The word Namib means vast place. And apart from the place, the country has a vast network of journalists as well. More than 300 journalists work in Namibia.
Windhoeker Anzeiger, a German language newspaper, was country’s first newspaper that rolled out its first edition in 1898. Most of the Namibia newspapers of that time reported news related to the German-speaking minority and blatantly ignored the black majority. On a negative note, some of these German periodicals depicted the black community as a threat to the German-speaking minority.
The Pretoria government influenced the “South West African” media system for a long time and threatened the journalists and the independent newspapers, which were critical of the existing order.
Current Prominent Periodicals
The Namibian, Die Republikein (Afrikaans), Allgemeine Zeitung (German) and Namibian Sun are some of the prominent most newspapers currently being circulated in Namibia. New Era is the only newspaper that is currently owned by state.
The Namibian is the most widely circulated national daily in Namibia and the Democratic Media Holdings is the biggest media investor in the country as it owns the other three newspapers mentioned above.
Tabloid Informanté, Windhoek Observer, Namibia Economist and Namib Times are periodicals that publish on a weekly basis. The country’s popular magazines include Insight Namibia, Vision2030 Focus and Prime FOCUS.
On a monthly basis, magazines like Sister Namibia and Namibia Sport serve the readers with their specialised content.
Namibia newspapers and other periodicals’ list
Following all the important information about the media in Namibia, here we present you a list of prominent Namibia newspapers, news agencies and news websites. We have tried to explain the origin, operations, status and popularity of these Namibia periodicals.
The Namibian is the most popular daily newspaper among the readers in Namibia, which publishes most of its content in English with a special section in Oshiwambo language on Fridays. Veteran journalist Gwen Lister established The Namibian as a weekly newspaper with 10,000 print copies in 1985.
Initially, The Namibian relied on donation from the citizen of Namibia and promoted the idea of the country’s independence from South Africa.
The Namibian started publishing on a daily basis from April 1, 1989.
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan heaped praise on The Namibian on its 15th anniversary, saying: “The Namibian worked courageously in difficult and often dangerous conditions. Since then, it has contributed immeasurably to press freedom and nation-building in Namibia. Throughout, it has maintained its integrity and independent stance.”
Apart from being the number one newspaper in Namibia, The Namibian has an impressive website as well that has its social presence and offers features like SMS pages. With the help of the SMS feature, readers of the The Namibian could write “short messages to the editor” to share their opinion on a news and raise voice on important matters.
Former editor Gwen Lister claims that The Namibian was the first newspaper to have come up with such an easy forum for discussion.
The New Era is one of the prominent most of the four daily national newspapers in Namibia. The newspaper was registered as a weekly newspaper by the government under the New Era Publications Corporation Act of 1992.
According to veteran Finnish journalist Ullamaija Kivikuru, The New Era was inspired by The Namibian and the format of the two newspapers still resemble each other.
As per Rothe, Media System and News Selections in Namibia, the circulation of The New Era reaches 11,000 on Fridays, with other days touching close to 9,000 copies. The paper that started as a weekly periodical, first turned bi-weekly and then started publishing daily in 2004.
Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was established in 1979 as the public broadcaster. Initially, the network operated under the name ‘South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC)’.
The FM services were introduced by the network in November, 1969, transmitting shortwave from the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s facilities. In October, 1981, the SWABC introduced the TV service that reached to the half of the Namibia population with the help of 11 transmitters.
Until 2008, the NBC enjoyed a monopoly of being the only free-to-air television in Namibia.
The NBS has a news website as well that publishes all news related to Namibia and sports in the country. The national broadcaster has its social presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
The Namibian Sun is a tabloid newspaper that was launched as a weekly periodical for Thursdays on September 20, 2007, with an initial print of 36,000 copies. Most of the tabloid’s pages are published in English with a few in Oshiwambo.
The Namibian Sun is being published daily since its revival in 2010.
The Namibia Media Holdings, formerly Democratic Media Holdings, owns The Namibian Sun along with popular newspapers like Allgemeine Zeitung and Republikein.
While Allgemeine Zeitung has a reader base of German-speaking people in Namibia, Republikein serves Afrikaans speakers throughout the nation.
The Namibian Sun is purely an English tabloid newspaper that shares its resemblance with South African Daily Sun.
Republikein is the largest circulated Afrikaans-language national daily newspaper in Namibia. Dani Booysen is the Editor in chief of the newspaper.
Retired Namibia politician Dirk Mudge founded Republikein in 1977 with title “Die Republikein” as a mouthpiece of the Republican Party. Johannes Petrus Spies was the founding editor of the newspaper.
After the Republican Party joined the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, Republikein was used as its unofficial mouthpiece.
The objectivity of the paper was rescued in 1991, when the Democratic Media Holdings decided to take over Republikein following many disputes with the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance in 1990s.
In 1997, the Democratic Media Holdings separated from the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance and decided to develop its editorial independence.
Namibia Press Agency (NAMPA)
The Namibia Press Agency, established in 1987, is the national news agency of Namibia. It was founded under the name Namibia Press Association and only got its current name in 1991. NAMPA operates under the regulations and guidelines of the Namibia Press Agency Act of 1992.
The Namibia Press Agency distributes news and pictures to its customers that vary from local to international.
The state-owned agency is headquartered in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, and has its offices in Swakopmund, Gobabis, Ongwediva/Oshakati, Opuwo and Rundu.
In 2002, the Committee to Protect Journalists accused the agency of acting as a mouthpiece for the ruling government.
Namibia Economist is an English language website. As the name suggests, it covers economic and business news of Namibia. Daniel Steinmann is the owner and the editor of Namibia Economist. Established in 1996, the newspaper published every Friday. Financial crunch led Namibia Economist to shut down operations in 2016.
“In 1998, the Namibia Economist was one of the first Namibian newspapers to develop a presence on the world wide web at www.economist.com.na.,” says About Us section of website. It also publishes “features on the stock exchange, the editor’s comments on serious economic issues, market and investment analysis” besides experts’ columns.
Informanté is a weekly newspaper published in Namibia. It also has a website. The tagline of Informanté is “Firm but fair”.
One can follow Informanté on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and news. It is headquartered in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia.
The Windhoek Observer is a weekly English-language newspaper of Namibia that gets published on Saturday. The Windhoek Observer, founded by Hannes Smith and Gwen Lister in 1978, is the oldest and largest circulating weekly of Namibia.
Paragon Investment Holding bought the newspaper in 2009 and appointed Kuvee Kangueehi as an editor.
Allgemeine Zeitung (AZ)
The Allgemeine Zeitung is the oldest daily newspaper of Namibia. Its name means General Newspaper. Headquartered in Windhoek, it is owned by Democratic Media Holdings Pty Ltd.
Founded in 1916, this German-language newspaper was previously named Der Kriegsbote and reported on First World War. Stefan Fischer is the Managing Editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung.
Namib Times is a regional newspaper. It also has a website. The tagline of Namib Times is “serving the coastal community since 1958”.
For the unversed, Namib, which means “vast place” is a coastal desert located in southern Africa. One can follow Namib Times on Facebook for latest updates and news.
The Southern Times has circulation across the region of Southern Africa. The SADC (Southern African Development Community) launched the newspaper in September 2004.
The Southern Times is a joint venture between Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited and New Era Publications Corporation. It is headquartered in Windhoek, Namibia and Harare in Zimbabwe.
The Caprivi Vision is a community newspaper which is published weekly. Its content is available in English and Lozi.
The Caprivi Vision was established on 21 August 2000 by a polytechnic student of Namibia, Risco Mashete Lumamezi. The tagline of The Caprivi Vision is “Watching The Nation”.
The Villager is a weekly newspaper and a website of Namibia. It was established in June 2011. The tagline of The Villager is “Wherever you are”.
One can follow it on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. One can write to the editor of The Villager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The press is Namibia is quite strong and active as the country’s constitution guarantees it complete freedom. According to US-based Freedom House, the media in Namibia has a “relatively open environment” for all its operations.
However, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) claims that journalists do get threatened by the ruling government. The RSF added that the journalists that are critical of the government find valuable space on the internet.
As far as the broadcast media is concerned, state-run NBC has major access to news in Namibia, while five national newspapers, including a state-owned daily, operate freely in the southern African country.
According to Internetlivestats, nearly 400,000 Namibia citizens had access to internet in 2016 and thus, the news website business is going strong in the region with time.
Unlike other neighbouring African countries, Namibia values the freedom of media and usually rank on a decent position in the Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders. In 2010, the country had reached an impressive rank of 21, on par with Canada. Namibia ranks high on the African Media Barometer as well.
However, the representatives of the government and economy occasionally influence the operations of media in Namibia. The African country was on the 36th position on the Press Freedom Index in 2009, 21st in 2010, 19th in 2013 and 22nd in 2014.
The Namibian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Editors’ Forum of Namibia are two bodies that represent Namibia media on international level.
While the propelling industry knows no bounds, we at MediaBuzz are working hard to provide encyclopedic coverage of all the news sources. We are a team of professional writers with a knack for the trends in the world of journalism.
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