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Icasa reportedly advised to reject Gupta family’s free-to-air bid

The family’s plan to turn ANN7 into SA’s primary news source has apparently been dealt a serious blow.

Outside the Gupta-owned ANN7 offices in Midrand. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gupta family's plan to turn their broadcaster ANN7 into the country's primary news source has reportedly been dealt a serious blow after independent legal opinion warned it would be illegal to award them the licence.

The City Press is reporting that the legal opinion was sought out by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

Icasa put out a tender for the coveted free-to-air digital broadcasting licence in 2014, for which Infinity Media Networks, who owns ANN7, is one of the bidders.

Icasa has reportedly been advised by independent legal opinion it commissioned to reject Infinity Media Networks' bid to secure the licence, because it is illegal.

The City Press is reporting that Icasa is still considering all submissions and no decision has been made.

The licence would allow them to move off of DStv, reaching two million people, to free TV, which could reach as much as 12 million viewers - going head to head with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and eTV.

GORDHAN & THE GUPTAS

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has also reportedly pulled the plug on the Gupta-owned newspaper _ The New Age'_s planned post budget speech breakfast briefing.

The Sunday Times is reporting that Gordhan has directed National Treasury to scrutinise coal supply contracts awarded by Eskom, including those held by the Guptas.