The Economic Freedom Fighters has slammed MultiChoice Group over what it has inaccurately claimed is the broadcaster’s “unilateral decision” to remove state-owned Russian news channel RT from DStv.
In fact, MultiChoice had already told TechCentral on Tuesday that it had no intention of removing the channel. When RT disappeared from its DStv bouquets on Wednesday, the broadcaster explained that the matter was not its decision and that the matter was out of its hands.
In response to a query from TechCentral soon after the channel went off the air, the company confirmed RT was pulled from its platform and would “not be carried on the DStv platform until further notice”. This was because “sanctions imposed on Russia have led to the global distributor of the channel ceasing to provide the broadcast feed to all suppliers, including MultiChoice”.
MultiChoice relies on satellite backhaul links to receive its programming. It also distributes its channels to viewers using an Intelsat satellite. Intelsat is headquartered in Luxembourg, which is a member state of the EU.
This didn’t stop the EFF from launching an inaccurate and inflammatory attack on the JSE-listed broadcaster. It said in a statement that the move “undermines both press freedom and the rights of consumers who pay for the DStv service. MultiChoice has chosen which news outlets consumers watch and dictated what content must be watched based on their allegiance in a complex conflict in Europe”, the radical-left party said.
“This is a classic move by imperialist-aligned entities who want to monopolise what people think and be the sole custodians of a narrative that requires balanced and fair reporting. MultiChoice has basically declared that the only reliable international news outlets are those aligned with Nato, such as CNN and the BBC,” the EFF claimed.
The party did not mention in its statement that DStv also carries Al Jazeera, which is headquartered in Qata, China’s CGTN, which is owned by the Chinese state, and India’s NDTV.
The EFF said that when the US began its “parasitic infiltration of the Middle East to secure oil reserves, under the pretense of fighting terrorism, CNN, Fox News and the BCC remained on our television screens”.
“The censoring of Russia Today is nothing but an attempt to shut down a contending narrative to news outlets that have been complicit in genocide in the developing world. We demand the immediate reinstatement of Russia Today, and not this condescending move which seeks to force-feed a one-sided narrative on the conflict between Ukraine, Russia and nations which belong to the hypocritical Nato.
“South African citizens must be allowed to make an informed view on the conflict in Europe, and not be fed narrow propaganda by networks who have a history of packaging imperialist expansion as ‘peace-keeping’ efforts,” the EFF said. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media