'Pressure to intervene in MultiChoice affairs not conducive to open democracy'

The DA revealed this week that MultiChoice allegedly sought to pay the SABC R100 million in exchange for political influence.

Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The board of Naspers has issued a statement saying there is persistent baiting of the group to intervene in the affairs of MultiChoice, which it says is not conducive to an open democracy.

The Democratic Alliance revealed this week that MultiChoice allegedly sought to pay the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) R100 million in exchange for political influence in the ongoing digital migration saga.

The opposition party claims this also supports the allegations that MultiChoice paid ANN7, formerly owned by the Guptas, in exchange for similar influence over government's position on set-top boxes.

Naspers says while some reporting on the MultiChoice and ANN7 matter is driven by honourable intentions to expose corruption, there are instances where pressure is being applied to take the news channel off air.

Naspers says some allegations are malicious and need to be thoroughly checked.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice issued a statement on Friday saying its instructed its audit committee to assess whether the total amount paid to ANN7 is comparable to payments made for other locally produced channels, with due consideration to the estimated costs of running a 24-hour news channel.

MultiChoice says it will assess whether there have been any corporate governance failures and will take action where necessary.