1 February 2018

South Africa: Government Notes Announcement By MultiChoice

Government has noted the announcement made by Multichoice to remove the Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) channel from the DSTV bouquet when its contract expires in August.

Multichoice on Wednesday announced it will not renew its contract with the news channel.

The announcement came after Multichoice completed an internal investigation into its relationship with ANN7 and the fairness of its commercial agreement.

Last year Icasa was asked to look into allegations of bribery and corruption with regards to payments Multichoice made to ANN7 and the SABC - apparently in exchange for political influence.

In the briefing on Wednesday, Multichoice admitted that mistakes were made in the lobbying process with the channel, however, it says there was no evidence of corruption.

Reacting to the announcement, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane reiterated that government will not get involved in contractual matters between two private parties.

She expressed her disappointment that the viewers of DSTV will not have access to the diversity of voices that ANN7 has contributed to the country's media landscape.

"However, there is a lesson to be learned going forward in that, as government, we need to look at how our current policies are structured in relation to increasing diversity of media ownership," said Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

On the same note, the Minister said government is pleased with the progressive move by Multichoice to find a new black-owned news channel to represent the majority of people in South Africa.

Multichoice has indicated that there is both the space and the appetite for another news channel on DStv.

"It is imperative to ensure that there is diversity of media ownership bringing new and fresh perspective to the people of South Africa," Minister Kubayi-Ngubane added.

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