He was lured with promises of a unique professional challenge‚ but the reality was very different. Below are extracts from Indentured: Behind the scenes at Gupta TV.
"Taking the channel to launch was full of challenges for me as the editor. We had to complete all hiring before the equipment started arriving and start training the staff and do test runs at least a month before launch.
"I wanted a full month of dry runs on the integrated systems with the young team before I would be sufficiently confident to launch ANN7. But this seemed more impossible with every passing day.
"The technical team only ordered the critical equipment in the middle of July 2013‚ and it looked like the delivery could be delayed until well after August 9 2013‚ the launch date we had set.
"Hiring was impeded by the fact that salaries were pegged at levels paid to journalists and technicians in India. It was very difficult to get senior South Africans at those budgets.
"Moreover‚ many senior journalists who came for interviews told us they were apprehensive about working for a television station owned by the infamous Gupta family. They wanted written guarantees that they would not be made to toe the Gupta line on various issues in the newsroom. And‚ of course‚ Atul did not want to hire these candidates."
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