Senior journalist flees Gupta TV

2013-09-01 13:47
Consumers are multitasking and using other electronic devices such as phones and tablets while they watch television. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Consumers are multitasking and using other electronic devices such as phones and tablets while they watch television. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Pretoria - The Gupta-owned news channel ANN7 has proved too much for a senior Indian journalist who chose to flee the chaos at the station.

According to the Sunday Times, consulting editor Rajesh Sundaram, who came to South Africa from Delhi three months ago to help launch the channel, says he is not willing to risk his reputation any longer.

As a result, Sundaram and his former bosses have resorted to mudslinging. On Saturday, ANN7 released the senior journalist’s letter of resignation, which was full of praise for the channel’s management. Sundaram, in turn, said he wrote the letter because he was merely trying to leave in peace.

He said the disastrous launch that saw the ANN7 channel become a laughing stock on the internet could be blamed on the Gupta’s family’s rush to go live.

“I’ve been involved in start-ups and you have to do at least a month of dry runs before you go live. This was not done and to this day (two weeks after launch) some staff have still not been trained.”

Sundaram described Atul Gupta as a tyrant who interferes with editorial decisions and shouted at staff.

The cosy relationship between the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma was something that he, a journalist, found worrying, he said.

Sundaram claimed he accompanied ANN7’s top management on a visit to Zuma three times before the channel launched, where he showed the president presentations of the channel’s vision on his laptop.

Atul Gupta referred questions to group CEO Nazeem Howa, who hit back by saying Sundaram has “made several outlandish allegations which are not worthy of response” and that the journalist “made several financial demands to which he is not entitled”.

Read more on:    ann7  |  jacob zuma  |  atul gupta  |  media
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