Jacob Zuma Should Really Add “Editor Of ANN7” To His Resumé — Nigeria Today
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Jacob Zuma Should Really Add “Editor Of ANN7” To His Resumé

It was all about having a pro-ANC media outlet.

Although Rajesh Sundaram was flown in from India to run the Gupta-owned 24-hour news channel ANN7, it was actually Jacob Zuma who called the shots.

The dirty, behind-the-scene details have been revealed in a book written by Sundaram, called “Indentured: Behind The Scenes At Gupta TV”.

In it, Sundaram explains how the former president acted as “de facto editor, managing director and shareholder” of ANN7, reports HuffPost:

Zuma chose presenters like Mzwanele Manyi, determined the editorial line and smoothed access to government advertising. Manyi is now the owner of the channel, after he bought it from the Guptas in a vendor-financed deal. Reports last month suggested that he is struggling to pay salaries.

A seasoned journalist and broadcasting executive, Sundaram soon quit, fleeing back to India as he was “scared stiff by threats from Atul Gupta”.

Because, well, apparently Atul was the boss from hell. Read more on that here.

Below, the cover of the book, just in case you find yourself needing to read more:

In the book, Sundaram wrote that:

“The news channel that I was heading would be a pro-ANC, pro-Zuma channel that was promoted and run by not only people close to President Zuma, but by President Zuma himself.

“In this scenario, I could see how he would use his position as president to ensure government advertising for the station. It also seemed, if this was the truth, that there was a clear conflict of interest – as his son had a stake in not just the Gupta-owned newspaper, but also the proposed television news channel.

“As a 30 percent stakeholder, his son [Duduzane Zuma] would get 30 percent of the profits earned from the revenues the president was helping them generate.”

Acting as shareholder in three meetings, Sundaram noted that he was “surprised that a head of state could take so many hours out of a hectic schedule to take such a close interest in the launch of a private broadcaster”.

The ANN7 team that attended the meetings included the two Gupta brothers, Atul and Ajay, as well as local executives Nazeem Howa and Moegsien Williams, the latter being two prominent South African journalists who became integral to the Gupta’s media empire, the book reveals.

Where’s the integrity?

Sundaram even quoted the other Gupta brother, Ajay, who revealed that – wait for it – Zuma named the channel:

“President Zuma suggested we name the news channel Africa News Network.” The founders then added the “7” because the original name had already been trademarked.

Funny that there was nothing African about it.

Below is Sundaram:

In his first meeting with the ANN7 team, Zuma said:

“Please leave a copy of the presentation with me. I will study it in detail and will get back to you with input in a couple of weeks…”

“It looks good now. I think you should keep the funny shows out. Lampooning politicians for cheap humour is not news. I hate the one they have on eNCA.”

Ugh shem.

At the following meeting, Zuma appeared to have really taken some interest in the presentation, and gave the team plenty of feedback:

“I have a few suggestions. We must not convert this into a publicity channel for the ANC and me. If we do that, we will have no credibility. You must present the views of the opposition and my rivals in the ANC as well.

“The push in our favour should be subtle. You are a seasoned journalist. You know how that can be done… eNCA only presents the government and me negatively.

“‘We need a channel that presents the positives that the government is doing,’ Zuma said, looking at me,” reveals Sundaram.


In the early meetings before their relationship soured, Atul gave Sundaram the lowdown of the Gupta family’s relationship with Zuma:

“We supported him when no one cared to look at him. Before the last elections, his opponents accused him of rape and corruption and made all kinds of charges. Most of his friends deserted him then. The Gupta family stood by him until he came out victorious. He would often come to our house and meet Ajay and me. Look where that support has brought him – today he is the president.”

More like, look where that support brought you, Atul.

After each of the three meetings, the editors and journalists at the meeting were ushered out:

“All three meetings I had with President Zuma ended this way. Nazeem, Moegsien, Ajay and Atul stayed on. I was told later by a member of The New Age’s marketing team that these discussions were crucial for the paper to get government advertising and bring hard-to-convince ministers and officials in as guests on The New Age business briefing.”

I guess you’re going to have to add “Indentured” to your reading list now.

[source: huffpost]

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This post was syndicated from 2oceansvibe.com. Click here to read the full text on the original website.


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