How Seychelles NATION was born |28 June 2021
In an era before television broadcast in Seychelles or even the internet, it was the newspaper that was the go-to source for most Seychellois and other people who lived in the country for every piece of local and international news.
Yes, you guessed right.
Computer technology was quite far away when the first edition of Seychelles’ national newspaper ‒ NATION then Seychelles NATION ‒ rolled off the print presses.
If nowadays some of the readers are looking to get their news via phones and other devices, others still prefer reading the paper version.
Although print circulations have declined with the advent of new technology, Seychelles NATION aims to continue providing the newspaper on print if the readers still want it. This means that the newspaper is committing itself to continue delivering news on all those levels.
With all these advances, it means typewriters have been replaced by computers, cameras that capture images on photographic film have been replaced by digital cameras and colour photos.
This means the job of journalists and photographers have become to some extent much lighter and faster. This give journalists and photographers more time to look for scoops, nice photos etc to satisfy the curiosity of the readers.
History of the Seychelles NATION newspaper
The history of the now Seychelles NATION newspaper dates back to the 1920s. Between 1926 and 1929, the government started publishing a daily leaflet called Reuters' Telegrams and Advertisers.
In 1942, the name changed to Government Bulletin and 19 years later (in 1961) it was called Seychelles Bulletin.
The bulletin published mostly colonial government advertising, copra and cinnamon prices, laws being introduced by colonial government and a limited number of national news items. There were also some international news transcripts from the BBC.
The push to really develop Seychellois journalists started at Independence with the likes of Antonio Beaudoin and Gilbert Confait who were joined later by the likes of Conrad Berlouis, John Lablache and Rene Morel who produced news mostly for radio.
It was by the end of 1977 and beginning of 1978 that more young people were recruited and this is when people like Jeanette Julienne, Claudette Albert and Denis Rose joined and a special unit called Government Press Communique Service was established. The unit, headed by a foreigner ‒ Ian Carmichael ‒ trained the young journalists and produced all the local news that went in the newspaper and on radio.
From then on, things developed for the best and more people like Jean-François Ferrari, Ronny Jumeau, etc, joined.
The newspaper kept the name Seychelles Bulletin until the day of independence – June 29, 1976 – when it became NATION. It is believed that the name change – NATION – reflected Seychelles' attainment of nationhood and the paper becoming a national newspaper rather than a bulletin of colonial news and announcements. Also the names – The Nation and The Standard – were common names for newspapers in East Africa and elsewhere on the continent of Africa.
There were very few newspaper reporters with most of the staff being with Radio Seychelles which was in the same building at the time at Union Vale.
From four pages when it was called Seychelles Bulletin, NATION increased to six pages in 1976. From an evening edition, NATION changed to a morning one and the first morning edition of NATION came out on November 19, 1979. It also became thicker with eight pages from Monday to Friday and 12 pages on Saturdays.
In 1982, the weekday issue increased from eight to 10 pages and the weekend edition from 12 to 16 pages.
It was on January 4, 1984 that NATION became Seychelles NATION to differentiate it from other newspapers in the African region with the same name.
In 1990, four more pages were added to the weekend newspaper to become 20 pages.
Seychelles NATION changes location
Seychelles NATION moved to its existing location at Laurier Road on March 12, 1994. It was a move accompanied by a great technical revolution insofar as the government had spent nearly 2 million rupees (1 euro was equivalent to 6.88 rupees at the time) to provide Seychelles NATION with the very latest computer equipment in terms of publication. Seychelles NATION introduced the computer-to-film technology in Seychelles. This involves a computer file being output onto a photographic film. This film is then used to make a printing plate, in a similar manner to a contact proof in darkroom photography.
Covering national, regional, sports and international news, the Seychelles NATION also has a weekend edition called Seychelles Weekend NATION and is published on Saturdays. It has 24 pages.
The first colour issue of the Seychelles Weekend NATION was printed on December 30, 1995.
With the mission to inform and correctly educate the public, the newspaper has since then continued to develop and improve on the quality and variety of information it gives its readers and has over the years become very popular. It produces articles in all three of the country’s national languages ‒ Creole, English and French.
Throughout its development Seychelles NATION has experienced ups and downs while retaining the merit of contributing, through the publication, of reliable and credible information, to perpetuate the history of our country.
Despite the arrival of television in 1983 and new newspapers in the 1990s, Seychelles NATION imprinted a reputation for "seriousness" that it still maintains.
Being a government publication, Seychelles NATION aims to inform, enact political, economic and social reforms and other actions and decisions undertaken by the government in power.
With the existence of several political parties in the country the role of the Seychelles NATION newspaper has become different from what it was in the one-party system. The newspaper is no longer limited to the views of one party, but reflects the different opinions expressed in the country.
In the aftermath of the proclamation of multipartyism on December 5, 1991, there was a resumption of pluralism in the field of the press. Qualified as the fourth estate, the press remains the obligatory passage to the public that it wants to inform or to whom it wants to convey the merits of a political programme (implicit ability to frame political issues) or the quality of a product (explicit capacity of advocacy).
Since May, 2010, the Seychelles NATION newspaper is published by the National Information Services Agency (Nisa), a corporate body aiming for financial autonomy.
It was on March 23, 2010 that the National Assembly approved legislation for the setting up of the information agency which provides information services in an efficient, objective, impartial and cost-effective manner to the public and state institutions.
Merline Volcère became Nisa’s first executive chief and Robert André the director and editor-in-chief. His assistants were Marie-Anne Lepathy and Gerard Govinden.
On May 13, 2013, Merna Bonnelame became deputy chief executive and Gerard Govinden replaced Robert André as director and editor-in-chief. Mr André assumed the role of consultant and Marie-Anne Lepathy stayed as assistant editor. Gerard Govinden became the deputy chief executive in 2014 following the resignation of Ms Bonnelame. He assumed both the DCEO and chief editor roles.
In September 2017, Mr Govinden became the acting CEO until February 1, 2018 when he was promoted to CEO. Thelma Estico was named the deputy chief executive on March 1, 2018.
Marie-Anne Lepathy became the chief editor and Mr André the deputy editor.
Seychelles NATION is the publishing arm of Nisa and is an established information outlet for the government, national institutions, the private sector and public in general.
Following Nisa’s take-over of the running and management in May 2010, the Seychelles NATION unveiled its prowess in visual storytelling and new designs by bringing out a new-look Seychelles NATION weekday newspaper which debuted on Monday November 5, 2012 with the usual 20 pages – four of those in colour.
The coloured pages were 1, 2, 19 and 20 during weekdays. While the cover page carried the lead story of the day, there were coloured adverts of different sizes on pages 2, 19 and 20.
It was the first colour edition of the weekday issue which was published on November 5, 2012 and this followed an eight-page increase – from 12 to 20 pages – on January 5, 2011.
New printing facilities
As the computer-to-film technology became obsolete, Nisa acquired a four-colour SM74 Speedmaster printing machine from Heidelberg, Germany, and a computer-to-plate processor in 2015.
Computer-to-plate (CTP) is an imaging technology used in modern printing processes. In this technology, an image created in a Desktop Publishing (DTP) application is output directly to a printing plate. CTP avoids potential losses in quality that may occur during film processing, including scratches in the film, and variations in the exposure. It also increases sharpness and detail.
Nisa began printing the Seychelles NATION daily newspaper on its own state-of-the-art press facilities at Bois de Rose on May 17, 2015. The new printing facilities have been operating under the business name Nisa Press.
Revamped and bigger easy-to-read weekdaySeychelles NATION
On June 1, 2016 a revamped and bigger easy-to-read weekdaySeychelles NATION newspaper hit the stands. This coincided with the newspaper’s 40th anniversary.
The oldest daily newspaper in Seychelles gained in height, by 5.3 centimetres. It became thicker with four additional pages ‒ increasing from a minimum of 20 to a minimum of 24 pages during weekdays, the same number of pages contained in the Seychelles Weekend NATION published on Saturdays.
The weekday editions got an additional four inside colour pages – 1, 2, 3, 4, 21, 22, 23 and 24.
While the cover page carries the lead story of the day, there are coloured adverts of different sizes on pages 2, 23 and 24. Pages 3 and 4 (in colour) as well as pages 5 and 6 (in black and white) contain national news.
The other two coloured pages – 21 and 22 – are dedicated to sports. International news is on page 20.
The Up Close, Education, Région, AgriNews, Youth Affairs, Life & Style, Environment, Entertainment and Finance sections were reintroduced. The Finance section contains analysis of financial and economic trends happening in Seychelles. These specialised sections are on pages 7 and 8.
As a result of the additional pages and more colour, the newspaper cost went up by R2 to R10.
The newspaper still has 11 pages of black and white advertisements and those are on pages 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19. Additional advertisement pages are labeled in Roman numerals.
The editorial team want the readers to feel more engaged in the new newspaper as they welcome their contributions in the form of letters, opinions, poems, short stories and interviews.
The aim of the editorial team is to continuously upgrade the newspaper by injecting more style and colour into its products, thus giving its readers value for money.
As a result of the revamping the team is making a real investment in the Seychelles NATION newspaper, and putting a major focus on reinvigorating the value of print media.
16-page Seychelles NATION in time of Covid-19
With the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in the world in early January 2020 and later described by World Health Organisation as a pandemic, the demand for stories published by the Seychelles NATION covering the impact of the highly infectious strain of coronavirus and its resulting disease, soared. But at the same time there was a huge drop in advertising as businesses – local and foreign – decided to tighten spending due to the economic impact of Covid-19.
This followed restrictions put in place by government after the virus reached Seychelles and the first positive case was registered here on March 14, 2020.
Since the print media (newspapers) are classified as critical services by the government, the management of Nisa took the decision on April 17, 2020, to reduce the minimum number of pages from 24 to 16 until further notice, instead of suspending publication.
The country’s oldest daily newspaper is still being sold at R10 a copy.
The newspaper’s website, which is updated every day, can be accessed at www.nation.sc
To keep up with the noticeable shift in people’s attitudes to the news and how they access it, the NISA management decided to mirror the printed version of the newspaper online. Therefore, the Seychelles NATION went digital in 2019 with the launch of the Seychelles NATION app on June 6, 2019.
On the same day was launched Nisa’s new modern website created by M3 Communications based in Bulgaria and owned by Maxim Behar.
This followed with the launch of the e-NATION in March 2020. The e-edition of Seychelles NATION can be accessed on multiple devices including desktop, laptop, tablet, Ipad and mobile. It is HTML5 enabled so is compatible with Apple products.
Subscription options are: three months for R500, six months for R1,000 or a year for R1,800.
Former Vice-President Vincent Meriton, who held the portfolio for information, described the Seychelles NATION newspaper as ‘le pain quotidien’ (the daily bread) when he addressed the staff during a lunch on December 20, 2016.
Chief Editors of the Seychelles NATION newspaper
Antonio Beaudoin (from 1976 to 1983)
Ronny Jumeau (from 1983 to 1991)
Rene Morel (from 1991 to 1997)
Denis Rose (from 1997 to 2006)
Sylla Abdoulaye (from 2006 to 2010)
Robert André (from 2010 to 2014)
Gerard Govinden (from 2014 to 2018)
Marie-Anne Lepathy (from 2018 to date)
Be part of it!
By Gerard Govinden