'MultiChoice‚ you are not the God of Satellite Space‚' says PAC
The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has lashed out at MultiChoice for dumping controversial news channel ANN7 from its digital platform.
"MultiChoice have been elevated to be God of Satellite space‚ wherein they decide the fate of those subscribing to them like God decide the fate of the dead if they meet requirement to be in heaven or hell to burn‚" the political party said in a statement.
"The PAC is not worried only about workers but also thousands of viewers of ANN7." (see full statement below)
The PAC joined those who have criticised the move for stifling media freedom.
"MultiChoice do not have any right to bully ANN7 or any other media house for that matter. We are fuming‚ we are flabbergasted by this draconian behaviour of MultiChoice‚" it said.
The pay-TV provider said on Wednesday that it would not renew its contract with the Gupta-linked ANN7. MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela made the announcement at a press conference.
"In light of the ongoing controversies it won’t be appropriate to renew ANN7’s current contract when it ends in August‚" he said.
The announcement followed allegations of a corrupt relationship between the pay-TV provider and ANN7. MultiChoice has denied the allegations.
ANN7 has come under criticism for being a propaganda tool for the Guptas‚ who have been accused of using their relationship with President Jacob Zuma to win government advertising for the news channel.
For immediate release To : News editor/reporter/media houses Date : 01st February 2018
Multichoice have been elevated to be God of Satellite space wherein they decide the fate of those subscribing to them like God decide the fate of the dead if they meet requirement to be in heaven or hell to burn. The PAC is not worried only about workers but also thousands of viewers of ANN7
Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) sacrificed its effort and energy to fighting all the liberties of our people including FREE PRESS. PAC is one of many organisation which have always regarded the media as a powerful branch of government which can foster development to a country such as ours. Our founding President‚ R Sobukwe was an editor of The Africanist publication‚ Joe Tlholoe devoted much of his time in Sowetan newspaper‚ Bra Don Mattera worked tirelessly for The Star‚ we have many comrades who worked for many media houses during and after Apartheid regime.
The action of Multichoice cannot go unnoticed and unchallenged in relation to termination of their contact with the African News Network (ANN7). We have witnessed unfair treatment of journalists associated to ANN7 by either hooligan politicians or fellow journalists from "progressive" media houses. Multichoice do not have any right to bully ANN7 or any other media house for that matter. We are fuming‚ we are flabbergasted by this draconian behaviour of Multichoice.
According to this bullying Multichoice‚ it was the public perception around ANN7 which had led to their selfish decision of terminating the contract. This bully claim to have conducted a diligence where they have found absolutely nothing against the satellite news channel‚ ANN7 which seems to be threat to its competitors.
What could be any reason for this bully (Multichoice) to terminate their contract between ANN7 apart from a "bad public perception". This reminds us of how Apartheid used to silence newspaper such as Rand Daily Mail which were strongly against that racist regime.
We have always contended and called for a diversity of content through reasonable ownership of the media unlike the current ownership trend which is skewed and only controlled by four multinational conglomorates. We have to have differing views which the ANN7 have been trying to do‚ bring about challenge. As things stands‚ we have a public broadcaster which has been converted to a state broadcaster which are largely existing in totalitarian state‚ and on the other hand we have another channel (eNCA) which has proudly taken an oppositionist stance against the government and we strongly believe that that cannot constitute a diversity of media.
What is very intriguing is that this action have been taken only against the ANN7 without an inclusive review to all channels which are subscribing to this bully (Multichoice). We have not heard any contractual disputes against eNCA or SABC in public.
Our big question is‚ who influences the decision of Multichoice and what is it there for them? The process could have been fair if only there was a total inclusive review to all channels subscribing to this provocative Multichoice.
We then asks ourselves as to how did this Multichoice obtain an exclusive right of the satellite space‚ why those rights are on Multichoice who then decide on who should exists and not?
The PAC calls on ICASA to intervene in this issue as a referee and regulator in communication sector. It cannot be correct that Multichoice would use its muscle to bully a station which they consider to air what they don't like.
The PAC is especially concerned about the plight of workers who will be affected by this man-made situation on a climate of this difficult economic fray that those who lose their lovely jobs will find no job because already we have millions of unemployed young graduates and there is absolutely no jobs on the market.
Statement on behalf of PAC by: Kenneth Mokgatlhe PAC National Spokesperson