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National broadcaster reprimands staff members accused of censorship, issues public apology

(MISA/IFEX) - On 28 November 2007, the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) issued a public apology following an incident in which a radio presenter restricted debate on topical political developments on a live radio call-in programme.

On 27 November, MISA Namibia condemned the presenter's decision to curb discussion on the call-in radio programme, "Chat Show", of issues concerning the ruling South West African People's Organisation (Swapo) and the newly established Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

In a public apology, read out on the same show the following morning, the acting director general of NBC, Umbi Karuaihe-Upi, apologised on behalf of the NBC management and staffers, Tebs Xulu and Corry Tjaveondja, for violating the rights of other citizens who wanted to freely express their opinions and exercise other participatory rights as provided for in Articles 17, 21 and 95(k) of the Namibian Constitution and for overstepping their boundaries by making unauthorized and untruthful statements on the national broadcaster.

Karuaihe-Upi further indicated that the involved parties would be reprimanded according to NBC disciplinary rules and regulations.

MISA Namibia has since commended the NBC for its swift response and the stance taken on the matter. Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) also welcomed the NBC management's action.

"We hope that this historical swift and unambiguous corrective measure instituted against the two individuals would serve a loud and clear signal for any other NBC presenters that blatant violation of any citizen's right to freedom of expression and opinion will no longer be brooked by the national broadcaster," said NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh in a statement on 29 November.

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