NEWS
01/02/2018 10:44 SAST | Updated 01/02/2018 10:44 SAST

BLF: 'We Will Shut MultiChoice Down Over ANN7'

Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama threatens to open a criminal case against MultiChoice and protest outside its offices.

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Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama.

Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama has threatened to "shut MultiChoice and DSTV down" for "silencing the voices of the liberation movement" by not renewing ANN7's contract come August.

Mngxitama said the organisation will rally its members to protest outside the the pay-TV giant's offices, open criminal charges and report them to the competition commission.

This comes after MultiChoice on Wednesday announced that it would not renew its contract to host ANN7, the pro-ANC television station formerly owned and initially launched by the Gupta family.

The MultiChoice board had instituted an investigation into the contract with ANN7, bringing in auditors and a law firm to assist it. The investigation found no evidence of corruption or "payments in return for assistance with achieving its policy objectives".

It was revealed last year that policy recommendations written by MultiChoice were sent on to former communications minister Faith Muthambi. The minister, in turn, forwarded these to the Gupta family, according to emails leaked from the family's business empire.

"White monopoly capital has been calling for the shutting down of ANN7 – this move by MultiChoice is to concede to this demand," Mngxitama claimed. "The public opinion is polarised between pro-white monopoly capital and those who want radical economic transformation. Therefore it is in the interest of white monopoly capital to silence the voices on ANN7."

"This is an assault on the fundamental right to freedom of expression and diversity in the media," he alleged. "This is akin to apartheid regime strategies of silencing the voices of the liberation movement."

He rejected MultiChoice's promise that ANN7 would be replaced with another black-owned media channel.

Former editor-in-chief at The New Age and ANN7, Moegsien Williams, declined to comment on Thursday.