NBC feud with GOtv turns nasty

27 February 2015

The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Director-General Albertus Aochamub has accused MultiChoice of carrying the national broadcaster’s programming irregularly without a formal agreement to do so.

Aochamub made the comments in response to enquiries from the Windhoek Observer about why the national broadcaster had decided to withdraw its programming from the GOtv platform.

MultiChoice Namibia sent out a press release on Friday last week in which it announced that GOtv would no longer air NBC1.

“GOtv regrets to advise you that the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has instructed GOtv to remove the NBC channel (nbc1) from the GOtv platform in Namibia,” the press release stated.

The statement further said that GOtv remained keen on carrying the channel and believed that the public television broadcasting service should be available to the public as widely as possible, but that the matter was beyond their control.

GOtv had scheduled to take NBC1 off air on its platform on 15 February at 08:00, but the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) placed a stay on the order.

“The issues are complex as the cancellation of the GOtv license (to protect the public broadcaster) in Zimbabwe in 2014 demonstrated.

“GOtv reaches the same population as NBC and on a similar terrestrial platform and thus competes directly with NBC which has a public mandate unlike MultiChoice Namibia.

“This matter was raised nearly a year ago for conclusion but MultiChoice Namibia has not been compliant to date,” Aochamub said in a statement.

He added that NBC1 would be back on the GOtv platform once all the legal formalities have been completed.

“In order to conclude the required consultations, CRAN believes that the irregular status quo should remain.

“We differ with that view but will comply with all the lawful instructions issued by the regulator,” Aochamub said when explaining the postponement of the removal of NBC1 from GOtv.

He further said that MultiChoice had already received a request from them last year to give them a formal contract for their DTT platform and they did not wish to drag out the issue any longer.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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