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Johannesburg - As damning reports of mismanagement, physical threats against a former editor and political partisanship loom over ANN7, the broadcaster has vehemently denied the allegations.
On Sunday, City Press reported that former ANN7 editor Rajesh Sundaram had opened up about his “terrifying” experiences at the broadcaster.
Sundaram, who resigned from ANN7 last week, said the broadcaster had been visited by President Jacob Zuma, who allegedly made editorial recommendations and “was given assurances by the Guptas this channel was going to be pro-ANC”. According to the paper, Zuma met TNA media group chief executive Nazeem Howa, Atul and Ajay Gupta and The New Age editor Moegsien Williams on several occasions.
Sundaram allegedly made presentations at these meetings at the president’s official residence in Pretoria, and the editorial policy for ANN7 was discussed.
“He said there should not be any direct propaganda, that all sides should be represented, that the stance should be subtle and not direct,” Sundaram told City Press.
He also said he was forced to flee the studios on Friday as he was being pursued by Atul Gupta’s armed bodyguards.
Sundaram said tension rose between him and other executives when he demanded to be paid for his dozens of hours of overtime, resulting in verbal abuse and alleged threats to harm himself and his career from Gupta himself.
He also decried the working conditions at the station, and said Gupta ran the company like a dictator.
In a statement released on Sunday, Howa released Sundaram’s resignation letter in which he was decidedly positive about his experiences at the broadcaster.
“I have had the most exhilarating three months working with Infinity Media. It has been by far the best phase in my career,” Sundaram’s letter read.
Sundaram said the letter was written before tension with his bosses reached breaking point.
In a written response from the broadcaster, Howa said meetings between Sundaram and the management broke down on Friday. He described Sundaram's allegations as not worthy of a response.
It’s understood the broadcaster is currently searching for candidates to lead the news operation. In the meantime, Shantanu Chatterjee will assume the role of consulting editor.