MAY 2013
• West Coast of Southern Africa
• Population: 2.1m
• Ethnic groups: Ovambo (50 per cent), Kavango (9 per cent), Herero (7per
cent), Damara (7 per cent), European (6 per cent), Nama (5 per cent),
Caprivian (4 per cent), San/Bushmen (3 per cent), Baster (2 per cent),
Tswana (0.5 per cent)
• Capital: Windhoek – pop. 320 000
• Currency: Namibian dollar
• Executive president: Hifikepunye Pohamba
• Only 0.99 per cent of Namibia’s 824 292 square kilometres is arable land
and permanent crops cover only 0.01 per cent of all land
• Namibia is largely a desert or semi-desert country where rainfall is
extremely sparse and erratic.
• The country is bordered by the Namib desert to the west and the Kalahari
desert to the south-east.
Namibia – Media freedoms and
journalist work conditions
• The Namibia Constitution makes provision for freedom of
speech and expression which includes freedom of the press
and other media.
• The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is a NGO with
members in 11 of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) countries. Officially launched in 1992,
MISA focuses primarily on the need to promote the free flow
of information and co-operation between media workers to
nurture democracy and human rights in Africa as envisaged in
the 1991 Windhoek Declaration.
• NO direct censorship from government or influencial parties,
but indirect pressures do exist and are generally linked to
financial resources for the media house.
• There is pluralism in respect of the print media in Namibia
despite some indicators, which taken on their own, could
suggest otherwise.
• This includes control of the major printing press by one
company (Democratic Media Holdings), which owns 3 of the
daily newspapers and prints its major daily competitor as well
as several weekly niche-based newspapers that it does not
• Naturally the consequences for newspapers (and magazines)
not owned by DMH, should it ever refuse to print them, could
be dire.
Print media
• Starting up one`s own newspaper printing press in Namibia is not
necessarily viable from an economic point of view.
• Newspaper printers in countries with small circulations, as is the
case in Namibia (7 000 - 20 000 for the dailies), need a pool of
paying clients.
• Newspaper circulation in Namibia is severely inhibited by a number
of factors (distance/living conditions/prineters/access to rural
• Advertising, rather than cover price, is the main form of revenue for
the print media in Namibia. This makes it distinctly different from,
for example, Zambia, where the opposite is true.
Print media
• Ease of the process of registration of a publication and a small
but vibrant advertising market, make it relatively easy to start
a periodical publication (magazine) in Namibia. But daily (or
even bi-weekly and weekly) newspapers face severe economic
• The problems of geography and population further contribute
to severe distribution problems for newspapers. This is
compounded by the advertising market, advertising agencies
and printing presses which, for market reasons, are largely
limited to only two urban centres (Windhoek and
Swakopmund/Walvis Bay).
12 Newspapers
• Die Republikein – DMH group - Afrikaans newspaper (highest circulation – lingua
• Namibian Sun – DMH group – English
• Algemeine Zeitung – DMH group – German - available in Windhoek &
Swakopmund (subscription)
• The Namibian – free press of Namibia trust - English – Most read newspaper/most
• New Era – Government Newspaper – English
• The Windhoek Observer – Paragon Holdings - English
• The Namibia Economist - English
• Informante – Trustco - English
• The Confidente – Max Hamata - English
• The Villager – Omaeleti group – English
• Southern Times – 2 Government publication (NamZim)– circulated in SADC
• The Namib Times – English/Afrikaans – coastal paper
• Namibia sport
• Insight magazine
• Namibia Business Journal
• Prime Focus
• Red Carpet
• Gems
News agencies
• There are two news agencies:
• State-owned Namibian Press Agency- NAMPA
• MISAnet (operated independently by MISA as an Internetbased news exchange service between 26 newspapers in the
SADC region).
Broadcast media
• 34.4 % of Namibians surveyed (2012) owned a television set, a
further 16 % had access to a television set and 50.6 % had no
access to television at all.
The census showed that
• 81.4 % of Namibians owned a radio, an additional 6.2 % had
access to a radio & 12.4 % had no radio access at all.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), which is 100 %
state-owned, is the biggest player in both the radio and television
broadcast sectors and has the widest coverage, with the radio
signal reaching 96 % and the television signal 66 % of the
country’s population
NBC must move over to digital with a due date of 2015
National radio
• NBC Radio, mainly through its ten language services
(Afrikaans, Damara-Nama,English, German, Lozi, OshiWambo,
OtjiHerero, Setswana, RukWangali and San languages) has
penetration in the furthest corners of the country. These
stations are not transmitted throughout the country, however,
but only to certain areas where there is a concentration of a
particular ethnic group.
Commercial radio
• The commercial radio sector, which has expanded
considerably since independence, is made up of nine stations,
all based in Windhoek.
• As a result, commercial radio coverage is on the whole very
Windhoek-centred. Only a few radio stations broadcast to
other major urban areas in the country
• Commercial radio is largely inaccessible to rural audiences.
Community radio
• Community radio initiatives have largely failed to take off in
• At present there are only four functioning community radio
stations, with one or two others having struggled for a
number of years to get off the ground.
• The reach and accessibility of community radio stations is
limited by their licensing mandate.
• Besides NBC Television, the market is served by free-to-air
independent One Africa TV, which is 51 % by Namibian
shareholders (black economic empowerment companies Aantu
Investments and Consulting and Stimulus Investments, as well as
One Africa senior management, while Schenzen Communications
from China owns 36.75 % and Telkom Media 12.25 %)
• One Africa TV, as a commercial station, relies heavily on advertising
revenue for its survival. It currently reaches 90 % of urban areas by
broadcasting to 28 urban centres in the country, including
Windhoek, but is inaccessible in rural areas.
• The other major player in the television sector is MultiChoice
Namibia Ltd, with its subscriber-based DSTV offering. This
service provides a wide range of international television
channels to subscribers by satellite. The SWAPO party, through
Kalahari Holdings, is the majority shareholder (51 per cent) in
MultiChoice Namibia. MultiChoice Namibia reaches just over
90 000 subscribers (96 000) with its digital satellite television
• MultiChoice Namibia is also in the process of experimenting
with television broadcasting to mobile phones and another
satellite pay-TV station, GoTV Namibia, was launched in
October 2007 under Multichoice Namibia.
• The three major telecommunications companies – Telecom
(through Iway), MTC and MultiChoice Namibia’s MWeb – offer
broadband internet connectivity.
• Both majority shareholding of MTC (51%) and Telecom (100%)
are through state owned Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings
• 25% of MWeb is owned by SWAPO’s Kalahari Holdings, while
the remaining shares are held by MWeb Africa.
• Commercial internet services began operating in Namibia in
1996 and the take-up since then has been very good;
• In 2009 there were nine ISPs in the country – MTC, Iway,
MWeb, NamibNet,Oasys, Africa Online, Verizon, ITN, and
Schoolnet Namibia.
• 2012 statistics put Namibia at 201 000 using the internet
(roughly 10% of the popolation).
Mobile media
• “Everybody has a cell-phone”
• Mobile service provider MTC (larger of two mobile service
providers) – celebrated 2.5 active users in Nov. 2012 (more
than current population).
• Mobile services used mostly for communication via voice calls
or text messaging.
• Data usage is centered in larger urban areas in the north,
coastal and central areas.
• Social media platforms are accessed mostly via mobile
platforms by users aged 16 – 25.
• Of the 10% of Nambian population who areo on internet –
9.5% are on Facebook – and 9.7% of that is from mobile
Mobile media
• Not yet used widely for news media. There are some media
houses which do provide text headlines at a cost. (NBC)
• Very popular by organisations for sales promotional purposes
(Discounts, competitions and other promotional activity)
• Most widely applied by radio – interactive channel for
presenters and personalities on radio
Advertising Share
Advertising share
1. Newspapers (70%)
2. Radio (25%)
3. Television (4%)
4. Online (1%)
• Many due to production costs involved in broadcast.
• Only early adopters on online front
• Very little brand advertising taking place in Namibia and
therefore print remains the most reliable and durable method
for retail, employment and trade advertising.

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