Although Namibia’s population is fairly small, the country has a diverse choice of media; two TV stations, 19 radio stations (without counting community stations), 5 daily newspapers, several weeklies and special publications compete for the attention of the audience. Additionally, a mentionable amount of foreign media, especially South African, is available. Online media are mostly based on print publication contents. Namibia has a state-owned Press Agency, called NAMPA.
The first newspaper in Namibia was the German-language Windhoeker Anzeiger, founded 1898. Radio was introduced in 1969, TV in 1981. During German rule, the newspapers mainly reflected the living reality and the view of the white German-speaking minority. The black majority was ignored or depicted as a threat. During South African rule, the white bias continued, with mentionable influence of the Pretoria government on the “South West African” media system. Independent newspapers were seen as a menace to the existing order, critical journalists threatened.
The daily newspapers include the private publications The Namibian (English and other languages), Die Republikein (Afrikaans), Allgemeine Zeitung (German) and Namibian Sun (English) as well as the state-owned New Era (predominantly English). Except for the largest newspaper, The Namibian, which is owned by a trust, the other mentioned private newspapers are part of the Democratic Media Holdings.
Other mentionable newspapers are the tabloid Informanté owned by TrustCo, the weekly Windhoek Observer, the weekly Namibia Economist, as well as the regional Namib Times. Current affairs magazines include Insight Namibia, Vision2030 Focus magazine and Prime FOCUS. Sister Namibia Magazine stands out as the longest running NGO magazine in Namibia, while Namibia Sport is the only national sport magazine. Furthermore, the print market is complemented with party publications, student newspapers and PR publications.
The broadcasting sector is dominated by the state-run Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC). The public broadcaster offers a TV station as well as a “National Radio” in English and nine language services in locally spoken languages. The nine private radio stations in the country are mainly English-language channels, except for Radio Omulunga (Oshiwambo) and Kosmos 94.1 (Afrikaans). Privately held One Africa TV has competed with NBC since the 2000s.
Compared to neighbouring countries, Namibia has a large degree of media freedom. Over the past years, the country usually ranked in the upper quarter of the Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders reaching position 21 in 2010 being on par with Canada and the best-positioned African country. The African Media Barometer shows similarly positive results. However, as in other countries, there is still mentionable influence of representatives of state and economy on media in Namibia. In 2009, Namibia dropped to position 36 on the Press Freedom Index. In 2013, it was 19th. In 2014 it ranked 22nd.
Media and journalists in Namibia are represented by the Namibian chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Editors’ Forum of Namibia. An independent media ombudsman was appointed in 2009 to prevent a state-controlled media council.