It would appear that not only did the Guptas get what they wanted in the launch of their own news channel ANN7, which was rewarded with lucrative annual payments from MultiChoice to the tune of R140m, but MultiChoice appears to have also benefitted through transactions involving the Minister of Communications’ cancellation of the roll-out of a competitive encryption service for all TV platforms.
OUTA’s initial call for ANN7’s axing from the MultiChoice platform arose from our concern that this Gupta-controlled news outlet was funded by corrupt transactions and taxpayers’ funding. This is a matter that runs far deeper than ANN7’s grossly biased reporting, which is a separate matter that requires the attention of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.
“We are fully aware of the need for a free media and the necessity for society to benefit from multiple voices representing various opinions and positions in the news,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO. “The fact is that without the support of taxpayers’ funds for ANN7, channelled to them through questionable transactions with various state-owned institutions, this broadcaster might never have existed in the first place. Their biased reporting in support of the corrupt element of leadership merely adds fuel to the fire of disdain and disgust at their conduct.”
The revelations published by News24 last week and MultiChoice’s inadequate response give rise to serious concerns that MultiChoice is now complicit in possibly fraudulent conduct that requires an urgent explanation to the public, failing which the encryption service could find itself suffering the same plight and public wrath meted out to Bell Pottinger, KPMG, SAP, McKinsey and others.
“Hiding behind confidentiality clauses and telling half-truths is no longer an option in today’s world of citizen power, when the public can exercise its purchase strength to trigger the demise of organisations that profit from unacceptable and undue conduct,” says Duvenage. “We now call on management at MultiChoice to come clean and provide us with all the facts related to the transactions.”
OUTA is a proudly South African non-profit civil action organisation, comprising of and supported by people who are passionate about holding government accountable and improving the prosperity of South Africa.