By Staff Reporter Windhoek On the eve of World Press Freedom Day today, the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) yesterday expressed support for the curtailment of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)’s radio programmes Open Line and the Chat Show. The two phone-in programmes were recently changed into being more topic-based shows, whereby listeners are allowed to call in and talk on a specific topic decided upon by the radio host. In yesterday’s press release, SPYL Secretary for Information, Publicity and Mobilization Elijah Ngurare commended the latest move in supporting an Afrocentric media as “it reflects on the country’s national developmental goals of Vision 2030”. “We congratulate the recent decision by the management of NBC to curtail the abuse of its phone-in programmes which in the past months have been invaded by unscrupulous agitators whose legacy appears to be solely based on demonizing and insulting our Founding President and SWAPO Party President, Comrade Sam Shafishuna Nujoma,” he said. He added that in any democracy, freedom of the press has its limits and those callers who call in to the radio programmes reportedly appear to be abusing this freedom of expression. “It would be expected that NBC as a parastatal of the Swapo Party government must not be allowed to enter into meaningless alliances with such organizations who want to sponsor chaos and disorder in our society and ruling party,” added Ngurare. In view of this, SPYL supported the idea of an Afrocentric media and an Afrocentric press that promote the country’s developmental plans and national goals. “SPYL congratulates the Afrocentric media of our country for their loyalty and commitment to the policies, ideology and programmes of the Swapo Party government … the vocal minority must not be allowed to trample upon the rights and freedoms of the silent majority who are the electoral backbone of the Swapo Party government,” said Ngurare. The recent change to NBC’s radio call-in programmes has evoked mixed reactions amongst the public. It was reported earlier that some have welcomed the decision, agreeing with many parliamentarians that people go too far on the programmes and abuse the airways to shower insults on others. Others however fear the move might spell the death-knell for the last bastion of free speech remaining at the NBC. Those opposed to the move feel the call-in programmes are vital forums for lively, spontaneous and open debate necessary for the proper functioning of a democracy. The great value of the call-in programmes is that they allow ordinary people to raise issues of concern that might not otherwise have come to public attention, including issues in the remotest parts of the country that journalists at the NBC, the print media or any other media outlets might never come to hear about. Last week Wednesday, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah announced that NBC’s top management took a decision to change the format of the call-in programmes to one of set topics. The aim of this measure is to stop abuse by callers in the phone-in programmes.
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