Youtube videos showing bloopers made by the newly launched 24-hour news channel Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) have been deleted after a copyright complaint was filed by Indian company Aiplex.
ANN7, owned by the controversial Gupta family, was launched last week and has been met with severe criticism from South Africans as a result of the technical issues, poorly prepared anchors and general lacklustre news value and production from the channel. The now deleted Youtube videos were evidence of some of the worst of these problems experienced by ANN7. They included presenters who mispronounced words and names, such as when Australian cricket team captain Michael Clarke was renamed “Michelle”; South African rugby played Morne Steyn was renamed “Mourn”; and Grand Prix was pronounced Grand “Pricks”.
Videos showing technical problems were also taken down, such as the first episode of a sports programme ‘Game On’. Between presenters stumbling over their words, the audible discussions among the production team, and a presenter clearly speaking to someone off screen, it was one of the worst of the Youtube ANN7 clips.
All of these videos have been removed from Youtube in what appears to be a cease and desist order filed to Youtube by Aiplex.
This is probably the most unethical stunt seen in South African journalism in a while, but hardly surprising for a Gupta-owned news channel. While ANN7 has made itself the laughing stock of the country with it’s ill-prepared and poorly conceived launch, the suppression of the evidence documenting ANN7’s problems is a serious blow for both the channel’s perceived transparency and accountability. To expect any kind of ethical journalism from the channel would be a big mistake and – even were the channel to finally clean up its act in terms of its production value – South Africans should treat ANN7 with suspicion and caution.
If the channel’s owners are this desperate to cover-up their egregious mistakes, trusting the news channel to provide “fair” or “balanced” journalism would be incredibly naïve.
Considering the Guptas apparent attempts to shut down criticism of ANN7, I would like to call to action all the people who did (and still will) film ANN7’s mistakes on air. I would suggest that these videos are uploaded across multiple video sites, in order to ensure the Guptas will be unable to stop the suppression of this evidence. Obviously Youtube won’t work at this stage, but please find below a list video-sharing sites:
- Lifehacker: Five best video-sharing sites
- Freemake: Top 7 video-sharing websites (except Youtube)
- Wikipedia: List of video hosting services