Following strong petitions online, Gupta’s news channel, ANN7 may soon be phased out from South Africa.
Reports have it that the online petition launched by DSTV subscribers to have the news channel belonging to the wealthy South African nationals, the Guptas removed, is gaining momentum, reaching more than 11 000 signatures.
The petitioners, who have for the past three days, been calling for the ANN7 channel to be taken down, accuse the channel of being bias and pioneering division in the country.
It is said that the ANN7’s “propagandist” coverage of political events should no longer be allowed to operate in the country because it is enriching the “corrupt” Gupta family.
They also requested for South Africans to hence forth stop paying for the family-owned channel on DStv, saying the channel only broadcast fake news.
“I object to ANN7 being part of the DStv offering. They give totally fake news reports and they are an insult to my intelligence,” said Jenny Zaidel, one of the petitioners.
His comment was followed by that of another South African, Berne Nightingale who said “ANN7 is a propaganda station, and as such, people should not have to pay for it. “This junk is bringing our country down,” says another.
The call for the Gupta-own channel to be shutdown comes at the time the family is facing further heated criticisms from South Africans who believe the family is behind Zuma’s axing of Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Jonas.
According to growing criticisms, Zuma has succeeded in firing “trust worthy” Gordhan so he could gain a stronger hold of the treasury for the benefit of his political friends, the Guptas.
The Indian-South African business family’s most notable members have faced more attacks from South Africa since the family was implicated in the Public Protector’s State Capture report which accuses them of trying to take control of the country through Zuma.
As as result of these allegations, the family’s enterprises have been facing strong back lash. The ANN7 is one of its firms which has more than frequently been plagued by what most South Africans refer to as unprofessional reporting from inexperienced reporters.
Critics of the channel mentioned spelling mistakes, technical and on-air glitches, and non-factual reporting as part of the problems that makes it unfit for on air service.
“We provide a platform for a number of local and international news channels over which we have no editorial control.
“Concerns over content and or facts portrayed by any channel can be lodged at the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA),” City Press reported Multichoice as saying.
Former finance Minister Pravin Gordhan also related his discontent in the broadcasting style of ANN7, saying it has “a lot so say with so-called independent analysts”.
“They have a lot to say when they want to attack us, and malign us and try to disgrace us. PR firms are hired, millions of rands are spent. To do what? Malign democratic institutions of South Africa?” Gordhan said asking the broadcasting firm to “play fair”.
Meanwhile, South African National Editors’ Forum said it received reports of verbal attacks and threats of physical harm on journalists from ANN7.
“Freedom of the media and freedom of expression are enshrined in our Constitution and should be respected by the whole society.
“Whilst people are entitled to their views about media owners and editorial content, journalists should be allowed to conduct their work without fear or favour,” the organisation said pointing out that the perpetrators of the attack on the channel’s journalist were members of the public.