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ANC condemns MultiChoice for pulling plug on Russia Today

Picture: Werner Beukes/Sapa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Werner Beukes/Sapa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Mar 5, 2022


Johannesburg - The ANC has weighed in on the move by television channel MultiChoice to stop broadcasting Russia’s state-owned RT from its platform this week.

The party joined the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), Cope, EFF, and other political parties who demanded MultiChoice to reconsider its censorship decision and immediately reinstate RT.

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The ANC said on Saturday it notes the draconian decision by the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on Russia and its entities, including global media organisations, following the escalation of hostilities between Ukraine and Russia.

The ANC said withdrawing RT from its bouquet is impacting negatively on the freedom of choice for subscribers and limiting their consumption of news on the developments in the Ukraine–Russia conflict.

“The ANC believes that this act of censorship, conducted in bad faith during Human Rights Month in SA, undermines subscribers freedom of association and negatively impacts on the need for plurality of views and media freedom which is sacrosanct and provided for in our Constitution,” said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.

MultiChoice confirmed that as of Wednesday RT would not be carried on the DStv platform until further notice.

“Sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU have led to the global distributor of the channel ceasing to provide the broadcast feed in all suppliers, including MultiChoice,” said the company.

However the ANC said the reason by MultiChoice is bizarre.

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“The reasons conveyed by MultiChoice in seeking to justify this censorship act are quite bizarre and lack any legal and humane justification. Stifling the plurality and diversity of views undermines internationally agreed principles on freedom of speech, choice and association.

“The ANC condemns any form of bias by media conglomerates in South Africa which limits the plurality and diversity of views. Even at this late hour, the EU must still provide legal justification for this course of action.

“Our own Competition Commission should also act to safeguard the interest of subscribers of MultiChoice by quantifying the loss and demanding a reimbursement. The ANC also calls on MultiChoice to reconsider its decision and immediately reinstate Russian TV on its platform,” Mabe said..

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Sadtu said the move is an insult to media freedom and freedom of expression in SA.

“We have every right to access different views on the Russia-Ukraine war, we cannot allow MultiChoice whom we pay millions of rands to play politics and take away this right,” said Sadtu national spokesperson Nomusa Cembi.

The EFF also condemned the decision of the pay channel.

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“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,” EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Tambo said.

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Political Bureau