MPs welcome live broadcast of parliament, but with reservations

15 Oct 2013 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 15 OCT (NAMPA) – Members of Parliament (MPs) have welcomed the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)’s initiative to broadcast parliament sessions live, but with reservations.
The recording of the sessions started on Tuesday with four television cameras in parliament.
The Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Joel Kaapanda then announced that the broadcast of Tuesday´s session will be shown on Wednesday, and from then on it will be live.
The introduction of the live broadcast of parliamentary sessions on its own channel is part of the national broadcaster’s digital migration.
“The parliament channel will enable the NBC to screen all the discussions of the house live as they happen without them being edited,” Kaapanda informed his fellow lawmakers.
The minister praised NBC for moving towards live broadcast, adding that it is indeed a commendable development.
Joining in on the discussion, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) MP Jesaya Nyamu acknowledged that it is a very important development in the country´s democratic process.
Nyamu, however, doubted Kaapanda´s statement that the recordings will not be edited, and thus requested the minister to give him a guarantee thereof.
Swapo MP Samuel Ankama wanted to know whether there is a dedicated channel for the broadcast, and whether an official announcement will still be made in future.
The DTA of Namibia’s Phillemon Moongo said he too welcomes the gesture, before stating that he hopes the initiative will not be used to promote one political party only, referring to the ruling Swapo Party.
On his part, Swapo Chief Whip Peter Katjavivi said it is a commendable step, and is very much welcome.
“I do not think there is a question of controlling information. Honourable members of this house are free to express themselves in a very responsible manner, and I think there is no question of dictating as to what should be shown and what not,” he noted.
Swapo MP Kazenambo Kazenambo said he hoped the initiative is well intended, and that the practice will be accompanied by all necessary mechanisms, guidelines, procedures and standards.
“Although the material will not be edited, equally certain mechanisms can still be used to target certain individuals,” he said.
Living in this country, Kazenambo said, he knows that mediums of communications are always used to abuse and target one another.
“In this live broadcast for instance, some people will be shown as if they are sleeping on duty in order to target them and embarrass them. Let’s guard against that. Let’s do this thing professionally and ethically according to international norms of journalism,” said Kazenambo, who has had some run-ins with members of the media in the past.