Newzroom Afrika will replace the formerly Gupta-owned and now-defunct Afro Worldview (previously ANN7), MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela said on Tuesday. The channel, which will be broadcast on DStv 405, will be launched in early 2019.
The new venture, which is 100% black owned, is backed by television production entrepreneurs Thokozani Nkosi of Eclipse TV and Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation.
“Their bid stood out for its potential to bring a fresh, creative and diversified approach to news reporting, which included an integrated digital strategy, combined with sound audience analysis and appealing on-screen execution,” MultiChoice said in a statement.
Zanele Mthembu will head the broadcast operation, while the newsroom will be under the leadership of journalist Malebo Phage. There will be an editorial ethics oversight board headed by Joe Thloloe and Dinesh Balliah.
“This new channel will greatly enhance and enrich the news offering on DStv, while at the same time creating a new black-owned entrant in South African news media. It will promote the diversity of voices in media and give all our customers the chance to find a news channel on DStv that resonates with them,” the pay-TV broadcaster said in the statement.
MultiChoice will have no editorial oversight of the new channel, it said.
Afro Worldview (then ANN7), which was bought by former government spokesman Mzwanele Manyi, was pulled off DStv earlier this month.
In January, MultiChoice admitted that “mistakes” were made in contractual negotiations with the formerly Gupta-owned 24-news channel ANN7 and that the agreement would be terminated in August.
Mawela said at the time that it would not be appropriate to renew the ANN7 contract considering “ongoing controversies”.
“This has been a humbling exercise for MultiChoice,” Mawela said. “…We fully understood the outrage of the public given the endemic corruption in the country. We should have dealt with the concerns around ANN7 more swiftly.”
ANN7 was owned by the controversial Gupta family, which had been accused of using its close association with President Jacob Zuma to win state contracts. Zuma and the Guptas have denied the allegations of “state capture”.
Mawela said on Tuesday that MultiChoice had received 111 expressions of interest in the new channel. The broadcaster has not disclosed the terms of its agreement with Newzroom Afrika. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media