Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gupta owners of the ANN7 TV news channel and The New Age newspaper files urgent court interdict against the EFF party against possible violence, media interference.

The Gupta-owned ANN7 (DStv 405) TV news channel and The New Age newspaper have filed an urgent court interdict against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party.

Oakbay Investments - a shareholder in the Gupta-owned media and other companies - as well as Oakbay Investments CEO Nazeem Howa along with other plaintiffs are asking the North Gauteng High Court to order the EFF not to commit violence against ANN7 or the newspaper, its assets like property, and staff.

The Guptas in the interdict application also want the court to order the EFF not to interfere with the activities of ANN7 and The New Age reporters and journalists. The EFF is opposing the application.

The urgent court interdict application comes after the EFF leader Julius Malema last week went on a scathing tirade against ANN7 and The New Age, banning reporters and journalists from ANN7 and The New Age from attending any EFF events or press conferences and using threatening language saying their safety can't be guaranteed.

It saw the abrupt cut of a televised broadcast from the EFF press conference as a ANN7 crew killed the feed, packed up and left.

Julius Malema said the EFF wants the influential Guptas with strong ties to president Jacob Zuma, to leave the Gauteng province and South Africa.

"We don't want to see The New Age and ANN7. It's propaganda machinery," said Julius Malema.

In the affidavit filed in the urgent court interdict application, Nazeem Howa says "Julius Malema lashed out at the Gupta brothers and their commercial interests with a clear and unambiguous threat of violence and xenophobia".

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) that has members working at ANN7 and The New Age newspaper says "state security agencies", the Guptas and Oakbay Investments must protect the workers and reporters.

"As a union we are up in arms against ANN7 and The New Age with regard to poor working conditions in these companies and we know how exploited these workers are and how they struggle daily to make ends meet," says CWU secretary Aubrey Tshabalala.

"These are our members and we will encourage the EFF to fight its political battles with the Guptas and not focus on easy targets, that is the defenseless workers".

"We call upon state security agencies including the employer to provide sufficient protection for our members at ANN7 and New Age while they are on duty trying to make a living. We further call for an indaba of all stakeholders in the media industry to discuss issues of security and allowances for field journalists".