JOHANNESBURG- The decision not to renew the contract of ANN7 by Multichoice is pure censorship. That is the view of Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association (MKMVA) following Multichoice’s announcement.
Spokesperson Carl Niehaus said the organisation was dismayed and angered by the decision of MultiChoice. He described the as firmly rooted in the unsavoury apartheid history through their owner Nasionale Pers, was not contractual but political.
“It is a political act of censorship to silence, and in fact totally remove, a television news channel whose reporting about the continuing control of White Monopoly Capital, and their ruthless exploitation of the black (especially African) majority, does not suit the plans of White Monopoly Capital and their black sell-out surrogates who want to continue strengthening their grip on our economy,” he said.
Niehaus said the move was a direct frontal attack on the right to freedom of expression and the expression of a diversity of views.
“These rights are protected in our Constitution, and they are also articulated in the Freedom Charter under the clause all shall enjoy equal human rights, that states that ‘the law shall guarantee to all their right to speak, to meet together, to publish …’. These are the rights that the African National Congress (ANC), right from our inception 106 years ago, fought for. Many members of the ANC and soldiers of Umkhonto we Sizwe laid their lives down for these rights in the struggle for a free, just and democratic South Africa. As Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) we cannot be silent when these rights are under attack, such silence will be a betrayal of our heroic freedom fighters who paid the ultimate price for these liberties,” he said.
Niehaus lashed out at the mother body, the African National Congress for failing to take on Multichoice for the decision. He said MKMVA is usually quick to defend the gains of liberation struggle, and among the first to speak out and issue media statements when the hard-fought freedoms are under attack.
“However, in the instance of MultiChoice’s decision not to renew the contract of ANN7 to broadcast on DSTV Channel 405 we have deliberately held back to speak out immediately. This was not because we are not deeply concerned – and in fact outraged – by MultiChoice’s actions, but because we felt it was important that the African National Congress (ANC) as our Mother Body should have
taken the lead with an official statement defending the rights of freedom of speech and the right to an expression of a diversity of views. Unfortunately, five days after MultiChoice made their announcement the ANC has not yet issued a formal statement to condemn their action, nor has the Officials of the ANC spoken out in unison against the MultiChoice decision. The only comrade among our Officials who have spoken out is comrade Jessie, who with characteristic courage and clarity condemned MultiChoice, and warned about the grave dangers of White Monopoly Capital controlling who says what and how,” said Niehaus.
He added that the organisation was comforted by the made by Calvo Mawela, the CEO of MultiChoice, to the effect that MultiChoice will find a new black company to replace ANN7 with a black news channel. He, however, indicated that it was shocking that Mawela could be so condescending and patronising towards himself and his own people.
“We are not surprised that MultiChoice, with its roots anchored in the apartheid and racist Nasionale Pers thinks like this (we do not expect anything different from them), but that Mr. Mawela as a black South African is prepared to articulate such views is truly shocking. This statement, in fact, speaks of racist notions of the so-called homogeneity of black people. Thus, if you have seen one black news channel you have seen them all – as long as they toe the line of the predominant narrative of the mainstream media that does not challenge White Monopoly Capital, because they are anyhow owned by WMC,” he said.
Niehaus said they supported the planned picket at the MultiChoice Head Office on Wednesday. He called on all freedom-loving South Africans to plan and proceed with rolling peaceful mass action throughout the country against MultiChoice and their owner Nasionale Pers.