WINDHOEK – Members of Parliament have welcomed the live broadcast of parliamentary sessions with mixed feelings.
Briefing the house on the presence of the four camera operators in the chamber, Information and Communication Technology Minister Joel Kaapanda cautioned fellow lawmakers to behave accordingly “to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.” He said the sessions would be broadcast unedited. The NBC started recording the sessions yesterday with four cameras, for the broadcast that started yesterday at 14h30 on NBC 2, the new channel that was introduced on the first of this month. The channel can however only be accessed by those who have bought a digital decoder box from the NBC. Several MPs rose to commend the minister and the NBC for moving one step further, but expressed skepticism over the live broadcasts, saying they might be used to expose MPs falling asleep in parliament.
As part of the digital migration exercise, the NBC plans to have a dedicated channel that will broadcast parliamentary sessions unedited. “In this broadcast some people will be shown as sleeping on duty, there is a need to have a mechanism in place to guard against some of the things that are not in tune,” said Kazenambo Kazenambo a Swapo Party backbencher. RDP Secretary General Jesaya Nyamu described the live broadcasting of parliamentary sessions as a very important development for democracy in Namibia, but asked Kaapanda to assure MPs that discussions would be broadcast as they are and that nothing would be edited or censored. DTA MP Philemon Moongo said he will only support the move if it is not done with the intention to promote the interests of the ruling party alone. His comments were however cut short by Swapo Party Chief Whip Professor Peter Katjavivi who said the move was not meant to control information, but to provide adequate and timely information to the public. Kaapanda said currently the NBC is only testing the project and once it has acquired all equipment, the sessions would be covered live through a dedicated channel. NBC will however continue to air an edited version of the parliamentary report in its usual slot on NBC 1 at 18h00.