DESPITE pulling the plug on free airtime for political parties, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) is still giving Swapo red-carpet treatment, writes Tileni Mongudhi in the Namibian.

This is detailed in the latest analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

For the week of October 30 to November 5, a whopping 82 per cent of the national broadcaster’s political news coverage was devoted to Swapo rallies, while the next highest party coverage was a mere four per cent. The IPPR also found that during the same period the RDP and CoD did not get any television coverage from the NBC.

The RDP yesterday told The Namibian that it held two rallies during that week: one at Opuwo on October 31 and one at Okongo on November 1.  The CoD could not be reached for comment.

The Institute for Public Policy Research has been monitoring the coverage of political parties on NBC television news and One Africa Television news over the past week.

The NBC TV coverage was made up as follows: Swapo 82 per cent; Swanu 4 per cent; DTA 4 per cent; APP 4 per cent; RP 4 per cent; Nudo 2 per cent.

Swapo is reported to have had 40 minutes out of a total 49 minutes of political news coverage during the week. This amounted to 17 separate news items.

“Some of the coverage of the opposition had a noticeably negative slant. For example the only coverage of the DTA was a rally cancellation, while coverage of the RP focused on internal disputes,” states the report, which is published on the IPPR’s Election Watch website.

One Africa also gave the ruling party substantial coverage but gave the opposition parties a bit more airtime than the NBC.
One Africa, with shorter news broadcasts and no news slots over the weekend, devoted much less time to the elections.

Swapo had seven minutes of coverage out of a total of 14 devoted to political parties.

The breakdown was as follows: Swapo 50 per cent; DPN 14 per cent; Nudo 14 per cent; RDP 14 per cent and APP 7 per cent.
The news analysis will continue and if the same coverage pattern continues, the national broadcaster could be accused of being in contravention of the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Namibian's website.