The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) stands in full solidarity with the NBC employees who are demanding better wages and are on a strike in protest of unfair practices at the broadcaster, which include maladministration, nepotism, financial mismanagement and self-enrichment of top management.
The employees have also complained to no avail about old outdated equipment at both television and radio that no longer serves their purpose.
It is unbelievable to hear that the cash-strapped entity’s Board would reward its managers and executives a whopping N$5.4 million at a time when not only the corporation is struggling to make ends meets, but the entire country is in economic distress.
These executive are shamelessly enjoying an opulent lifestyle at the expense of the workers and taxpayers.
If top management can reward itself handsomely, there is no justification for the same Board to continue turning a blind eye to the plight of the workers who have been asking for a humble 8% pay raise.
Many NBC workers have been subjected to work on contract basis renewed monthly and annually for over five years without benefits.
This behaviour demonstrates that the NBC is being bent by an authoritarian greedy Board that has no interest in the welfare of the workers – workers that are the backbone of the broadcaster.
And this comes at a crucial time when there is a rise in disinformation/fake news/hidden manipulation of news that are making their inroads in the media to distabilise and pull at the social and moral fabric of our society.
NBC Management’s selfishness poses a dangerous threat to our democracy as freedom of speech and freedom of the press are withering by those who hold higher powers at the establishment when they disregard the welfare of their workers.
For example, the NBC journalists, producers and all other supporting staff that broadcast stories about people who can’t afford to live in expensive cities like Windhoek are themselves also not able to afford to live in Windhoek either.
Every year, thousands of graduates of mass communication and media studies delve into journalism with the hope to contribute towards bettering their communities, but the best brains and most experienced have to sadly leave the industry over low pay.
Poor pay undermines the quality of journalism in our country.
A report by The Namibian disclosed that several editors in the media industry agree that the importance of the media is downplayed by media houses, journalists are mostly overworked and underpaid, while newsrooms are understaffed.
We, therefore, demand a salary increment for the workers, a forensic audit of the finances of NBC and call for its executive to be suspended in the interim, pending investigation into malpractices.
We stand in solidarity with the NBC workers and will join them in protest.