In a sudden move, GTV on Friday pulled the plug on its broadcasts in Namibia and other African countries, writes Nangula Shejavali in The Namibian.

London-based Gateway Broadcast Services (GBS UK), of which GTV Namibia is a subsidiary, announced that its board of directors had unanimously approved a plan to liquidate the company.

According to the media release, the parent company of GTV Namibia and several other subscribers across the African continent have struggled to secure funding for the continued operation of the business because of the global financial crisis, which had caused excessive demands on the business.

A company spokesman is quoted as saying: "We realise the negative impact this has had on our loyal customers, creditors and staff, all of whom have believed in GTV and the revolution in pay TV it created. We have tried every possible step to keep the company going but we are all the unfortunate victims of the current global economic crisis."

But GTV Namibia – launched in October 2007 – feels hard done by, having received no warning of its parent company's intent to close the business, and with suspension of its satellite feed taking place just an hour and a half after the 15h00 phone call on Friday announcing its liquidation.

In its own media release, GTV Namibia said the notice of service withdrawal had been communicated to all African countries via a phone call from GBS UK indicating the ceasing of all operations with immediate effect, correspondence of this message to all subscribers via their decoders, and the payment of staff a month in advance. Further, country managers were instructed to vacate premises "without delay", and the communication stated that no logistical or operational arrangements had been put in place to effect the liquidation.

Commenting on the lack of information to the 22 Africa country markets comprising an estimated 100 000 subscribers, GTV Namibia's Country Manager, Tania Frankle, and Director, Josephat Mwatotele, said: "The absence of the president of the GBS Group, Julian McIntyre, during this call was a dark silence, as the foreign investor leaves all African countries with their hands tied behind their backs. Country managers across Africa feel betrayed as they are left to answer to loyal subscribers, staff and stakeholders."

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