WE WANT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM - KANDJII
The former Regional Director of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Kaitira Kandjii, has now taken over the reigns from Donovan Weimers, to head the Marketing and Communications Department at the Polytechnic of Namibia.
As a communications expert with a wealth of experience gained from his years as a senior reporter, lecturer at University of Namibia as well as news editor, Kandjii believes that the Namibian media industry lacks a good dose of maturity.
“I have not yet seen maturity in the Namibian media. They are still growing with most papers still trying to find their niche and because of this, they change their focus everytime,” says Kandjii.
He further laments on the non-existent changing of leadership that plays a major role in the stagnation of Namibian media, noting that there is no sustainability in terms of growth.
According to him, the backsliding of Namibian media can be attributed to a shortage of capacity as well as a lack of skills.
He notes that, the financial status of most media houses poses a serious risk to qualitative articles, as well as indepth investigative stories to avoid a scenario.
On the other hand, media houses cannot afford to place well done investigative reports.
“I dont think all papers can say they are sustainable, most of them must still make money to establish bureaus in regional towns to broaden the scope of their readership.
“It is difficult to expand media houses because of a lack of resources. Most papers are started randomly without knowing what their focus is and still need to do serious market research,” laments Kandjii.
However, he admits that investigative journalism is not a course at Namibian tertiary institutions, therefore, the country cannot produce good investigative reporters.
“Our colleges don’t teach how to prod, analyse or how to probe for human interest stories. You find the same stories in all the newspapers, even the Observer (Windhoek Observer) used to be a good weekend paper but now it has very short articles in it with not much analyses,” Kandjii points out.
Meanwhile, because of a lack of financial resources, newspapers subsequently push their reporters into the hands of corporate companies who offer attractive remunerative packages, which as corporate communications practitioners, media houses can hardly afford good packages since they scrape every dollar paid for advertisement.
“The market is too small to warrant all the newspapers. Advertisements are not enough for all the media, with most companies only able to afford to advertise in one or two papers. The readership is so small and it’s not properly segmented,” he says.
However, while the tides in the economy play a major role in effective reporting, self-censorship is another big concern, which contributes to the derailment of good journalism.
Kandjii points out that there is perhaps good reason for this, considering the number of libel cases against local media houses.
He says: “There is serious patronage in terms of financial support and reporters cannot speak up fully. The big fish are often purposely allowed to live, compared to the rest of the world where political allegiance plays no role. In fact, Government should not control anything when it comes to the media.”
Meanwhile, legislation for access to information is of paramount importance for the survival of Namibian media, argues Kandjii.
“It is critical to have a law and unless there is a law you are not entitled to get documents or minutes that determine the outcome of meetings. A law gives a person a right to appeal if they are seriously denied important information.
The affamable man began his professional career as a journalist, working for a daily newspaper owned by the Democratic Media Holdings in 1990 and later worked as a senior journalist and then editor of a community magazine called Bricks Community.
In 1997, Kaitira joined Unam as a lecturer in media studies and taught the first batch of journalism students. He later joined the Government and worked as a communication specialist for a water project within the Ministry of Agriculture.
The year 2000 saw Kandjii joining MISA as an information officer, where he rose through the ranks until he was appointed to regional directorship.
Kandji has published articles on media policy, broadcasting and freedom of expression. He has a BA (Hons) and MA in media studies and policies from the University of Natal, South Africa. PF
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