DA calls for boy­cott of Gupta-owned me­dia

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAY­I­BONGWE MAQHINA

THE gov­ern­ment’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tions De­part­ment spent nearly R1 mil­lion on a busi­ness brief­ing by the Gup­taowned news­pa­per, The New Age, last year.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Ayanda Dlodlo re­vealed this in a writ­ten re­sponse to a ques­tion from the DA’s Chris­tian Hun­singer.

“The De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions spent R988 689.84 on a busi­ness break­fast brief­ing held on May 26, 2016 or­gan­ised by the news­pa­per,” Dlodlo said.

The cost was in­curred while Faith Muthambi was min­is­ter.

The lat­est rev­e­la­tion prompted the DA to call for a boy­cott of the Gupta-owned me­dia – TNA and ANN7.

“It’s not a se­cret that the Gupta-owned TNA is propped up by the mil­lions it re­ceives from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and state-owned com­pa­nies that spon­sor its break­fast brief­ings, buy in bulk copies of its news­pa­per and spend dis­pro­por­tion­ately on ad­verts in the news­pa­per,” DA spokesper­son Phumzile van Damme said yes­ter­day.

She claimed the Gupta me­dia were kept alive by tax­pay­ers and cited in­stances where they, the de­part­ment, and the Free State gov­ern­ment, splashed out on fund­ing them.

Van Damme said that since the Gupta email scan­dal had be­gun, the Gupta me­dia had been do­ing ev­ery­thing to de­flect and dis­tract the pub­lic from the truth.

“It’s time to stop giv­ing the New Age and ANN7 the time of day, and see them for what they are: the Gup­tas’ own closed-cir­cuit TV.

“It is time to stop all fund­ing of ANN7 and The New Age, to put a stop to the Gup­tas’ pro­pa­ganda cam­paign,” she said.

Mean­while, The New Age’s busi­ness brief­ings are sub­ject to re­view as the in­terim board of the SABC im­ple­ments the list of rec­om­men­da­tion of the ad hoc com­mit­tee of in­quiry.

Last month, in­terim board mem­ber Kr­ish Naidoo told the com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­mit­tee that they had writ­ten to The New Age re­quest­ing a meet­ing to dis­cuss con­tracts they en­tered into with the SABC and also de­ter­mine the sub­scrip­tion of news­pa­pers, among oth­ers.

This was to eval­u­ate the fea­si­bil­ity of the busi­ness case for en­ter­ing into agree­ments with ri­val broad­cast­ers, such as ANN7 and DStv.

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