ANN7

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ANN7
ANN7
Launched 2013
Network DSTV
Owned by Infinity Media
Essel Media
Oakbay Investments
Picture format 16:9 (576i, SDTV)
Country South Africa
Language English
Broadcast area South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Headquarters Midrand, South Africa
Website www.ann7.com
Availability
Satellite
DSTV Channel 405

ANN7 (African News Network) is South Africa's third 24-hour news channel, as broadcast on Multichoice's DStv satellite television service.[1] The channel's launch in August 2013 was met with public mockery when numerous technical issues and mistakes made by untrained presenters went viral online. The channel since has since settled down and its coverage of big events like Nelson Mandela's death and funeral was much appreciated.


Ownership[edit]

ANN7 is primarily controlled by the politically powerful Gupta family, who boast strong ties to the South African president, Jacob Zuma, as well as members of parliament belonging to the ruling ANC party. Additionally, the Gupta Media conglomerate control and operate the The New Age South African daily newspaper.[2] The channel is run by Infinity Media, itself a joint venture between Essel Media, Oakbay Investments and a black economic empowerment shareholder-partner in the form of Duduzana Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma. [3][4]

Format[edit]

ANN7 provides a traditional bouquet of broadcasting, including:

  • News segments
  • Sports highlights
  • Political and news-based talk-shows with round-table discussions
  • Nationwide weather reports
  • Lifestyle, Entertainment and Special Interest news

Lead stories from the TV channel are also published via their website.

The ANN7 studios, operating out of their purpose-built Midrand, Gauteng studios, employs a team of 76 journalists.

According to its website, Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) will focus on "constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride."[5]

Presenters[edit]

Of the TV presenters and anchors employed by ANN7, many are known to possess no journalism background or training, but rather, are local models and actresses. Particularly in the days following their initial launch, newsreaders could be seen battling to pronounce basic words and well-known names from the teleprompter (such as "Grand Prix" being sounded out phonetically with a hard 'X' as 'Grand Pricks'), and getting common-knowledge facts wrong (such as referring to Johannesburg as the Mother City.) Weather presenters were seen vaguely waving at the map of South Africa without apparent understanding of the geography of the country, and suggesting weather-sensitive activities, inappropriate to the day of the week (such as suggesting citizens capitalize on the sunny weather to have a picnic on a Monday morning.)[6] The channel has of late got experienced journalists to anchor their shows and has roped in some big names in South African journalism like Hajra Omarjee.


Jimmy Manyi[edit]

Controversial ex-ANC spin doctor Jimmy Manyi was selected to chair ANN7's talk show, Straight Talk. Coupled with the reports of President Zuma seen touring the studio facilities 48 hours before launch,[7] this prompted comment from the public and media about the channel's escalating perception of being an ANC mouthpiece.[8] Manyi, who was frequently at loggerheads with the South African media during his tenure as government spokesperson - in incidents such as threatening to remove print advertising from newspapers that printed critical stories[9] - states that his show will be presented in the styles best associated with Larry King and Oprah Winfrey.

Pro-ANC policy[edit]

ANN7's neutrality came into question when editor Rajesh Sundaram resigned in late August 2013, amid his allegations of editorial interference by Atul Gupta, who purportedly made assurance to President Zuma that the channel would be "pro-ANC". Sundaram was taken to see Zuma on three occasions, with assurances given each time of ANN7's pro-government policy. However, ANN7's coverage of news has betrayed that perception and it has not shied away from covering stories that are critical of the government and Zuma.[10]

Sundaram allegedly left ANN7 after being forcefully coerced into working overtime without pay, and after intimidation by Gupta's bodyguard. The channel's technical head was also allegedly threatened to 'ruin his career' if failed to sign the overtime-policy contract. Sundaram has since gone back to India.[11][12] Sundaram fled to India after his and a colleague's hotel room was ransacked in the days following his resignation.[13]

Suppression of viral videos[edit]

After viral video clips of the channel's many bloopers started to surface on Youtube, ANN7 reacted to the mounting PR fallout by employing the services of Indian-based company Aiplex, to have the clips removed by issuing take-down notices to Youtube under the auspices of copyright infringement. Aiplex themselves have courted controversy in the past, after it emerged that they often carry out illegal DDoS attacks on websites they deem to have infringed on their clients' copyrights. The systematic takedown of the videos and its contents was ridiculed heavily by media, bloggers and on Twitter; the re-surfacing of the videos on alternative video-hosting sites such as LiveLeak suggest that ANN7 have triggered a Streisand Effect.[14]

Billboard advert[edit]

Shortly after launch, an ANN7 billboard was erected in Johannesburg with the prominent tagline "We aren't old farts, not even our presenters", with an image purportedly of an old male news anchor. This triggered almost immediate negative criticism from different quarters, with the South African Older Persons Forum submitting formal complaints of ageist discrimination with both the Advertising Standards Authority, and the South African Human Rights Commission, as they considered it to be in violation of the Older Persons Act of 2006.[15] Much of the criticism of the channel also stems from the unpopularity of one of the shareholders, the Gupta family, who courted headlines last year when a private Indian airline plane carrying their guests for a family wedding landed in Waterkloof air base

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gupta Channel goes Live". Business Day Live. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "The New Age launches". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "New DStv channel scouring for talent". Channel24.co.za. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Duduzana Zuma to Gupta TV BEE partner". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "ANN7 Home Page". ANN7. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "ANN7: Car-crash viewing, but no laughing matter". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Zuma's Secret visit to Gupta TV channel". IOL.co.za. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Gupta news channel likely to be pro-Zuma". The Citizen. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Manyi vs the media". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "ANN7 was to be pro-Zuma". IOL.co.za. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "ANN7 pro-ANC stance to be 'subtle'". mybroadband.co.za. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Senior journalist flees Gupta TV". News24.co.za. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Mandy, Wiener. "ANN7 editor flees SA". Eyewitness News. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "ANN7 sing the Streisand Blues". Web Tech Law. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "ANN7 'old fart' ad blasted". iafrica.com. iafrica.com. Retrieved 31 August 2013. 

External links[edit]