DA to PAIA Multichoice-Newzroom Afrika contract

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CAPE TOWN, September 2 – The Democratic Alliance has submitted an application to Multichoice in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to request access to the full terms of agreement between Multichoice and its new 24-hour news channel Newzroom Afrika, the party said on Sunday.

“We welcome that the channel is 100 percent black and 50 percent female-owned. The DA is of the view that transformation in the media is crucial in solidifying press freedom and strengthening our democracy,” DA spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said.

The DA had always been a proponent of new competitors entering the media space, as it provided viewers with a diversity of voices and opinions, she said.

“That being said, the same fervour with which we hold the public broadcaster to account is the same we use to hold private-owned companies to account. Past experiences with MultiChoice, especially with regards to their suspicious relationship and payments to ANN7, require the need for transparency and openness.”

Therefore, the DA had requested that MultiChoice make public their agreement with Newzroom Afrika, the list of bidders considered for the DSTV Channel 405 contract, and the ranking of the shortlisted bidders and relevant documentation for the DSTV 405 contract.

The DA believed this information was in the best interest of the public as they needed assurance that the hard-earned money they paid for their DSTV subscription fees were used in an ethical and transparent manner.

“We trust that in good faith Multichoice will open its books to the public in order [to] give assurance that there was nothing untoward in the awarding of the contract to Newzroom and this will not be another ANN7,” Van Damme said. (ANA)