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 Who will speak for the journalist?

By Victor Angula /

Journalists – and by extension all media workers – work in the field in which their role is to speak for others, or let others’ voice be heard.

Be it happy voices or depressed voices, the job of the media is to make a platform for all types of voices to be heard, and heard across a broad section of society.

Especially when people are dismissed from work (fairly or unfairly), or are just being exploited and devalued by their employers, it’s the role of the media to report and make someone’s voice heard.

While it’s extremely uncomfortable to report on the troubles of another media entity, especially where it has to do with dismissals of its workers, it is just important and necessary that when media workers find themselves in a position where they are at the receiving end of the injustices of this life, then there should be a way for their voice to be heard.

Now let’s talk about the ‘dismissal’ or ‘retrenchment’ of one employee of Shipi FM as reportedly happened during the course of the outgoing week.

The Namibian newspaper reported on Friday, 1 September 2023, with a headline: “Boss says Shipi FM employee was retrenched, not fired”.

Ironically, the article was giving out the ‘voice’ of the Shipi FM boss, instead of the affected employee.

Although the Boss explained that the matter was a retrenchment due to “unfavourable economic conditions in the country” and also stated, according to the article, that legal action will be taken against “any character that is determined to bring the name of Shipi FM in disrepute”, one is still bound to enter the fray and ask the question: “Who will speak for the journalist?”

Call it ‘retrenchment’ or ‘dismissal’ but it’s just the same thing – one is left without a job. So who will speak for the person?

Mr Martin Kaali Shipanga, as the owner of Shipi FM, is right in running his entity in any manner in which he deems fit. But since he works with people, he has to take people’s conveniences, feelings, and comforts into account at all times.

Shipi FM’s employees had to go on a short-lived wild cat strike because surely their conveniences, feelings and comforts as human beings were not seen to be taken into account.

Apparently they wrote a letter to their boss stating that they felt ‘devalued’.

They also apparently claimed that they earn between N$2,500 and N$4,500 per month. They also said they were ‘forced’ to buy Shipi FM’s clothing.

Even just talking about the measly salaries of between N$2,500 and N$4,500, such is too little remuneration for the kind of work these people are doing for Shipi FM.

If you listen to Shipi FM you can see that their broadcasts are of high quality. It shows that these workers are committed to their work, passionate about their work and highly talented and professional individuals.

Therefore they deserve to be treated with respect, to be paid fair wages, and to be valued not only as workers but also as human beings.

And I am still waiting for the Namibian Media Professionals Union (NAMPU) to release a statement in this regard.

– Victor Angula is the editor of Omutumwa News Online. He can be reached at victorangula@yahoo.com