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WITH a push of a red button, the country’s newest 24-hour news channel, Africa News Network (ANN7), was born.
At 6pm on Wednesday night, ANN7 went live with its first bulletin, broadcast on DStv channel 405 and hosted by seasoned award-winning journalist Chantal Rutter Dros, who will be the host of the station’s prime-time shows.
“Gupta TV” – as ANN7 has become nicknamed, as it is owned by the powerful Gupta family, with President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane as the key BEE partner – was launched at a glitzy affair at the Sandton Convention Centre on Wednesday night complete with Zulu traditional dancing by Drum Café and performances by Afro-pop singer Zahara and hip-hop musician Kwesta.
The new news channel has committed to focus on “constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride in South Africa” and will be in direct competition for viewership with the established eNCA (DStv 403) and the SABC’s newly launched 24-hour news channel on DStv 404.
ANN7’s editor-in-chief, Moegsien Williams, said his team was happy to unveil the channel as a new voice within the country’s broadcast media context.
“We are ready to bring stories as they happen with depth and perspective… to bring you debates with all sides. We will practise critical journalism with no fear or favour, but we will also show what is working and the positive,” he said.
Minister of Communication Yunus Carrim said the country had come a long way since 1994, when only two news channels existed, and that he was keen to see the coverage of public institutions.