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.

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”.

ANN7's rocky start

A number of clips from ANN7's early days have become a viral hit on the internet, particularly as inexperienced presenters were unable to paper over the cracks caused by poor sound quality and vision mixing.

Reports quickly circulated after the debut of the channel's sports programme, Game on! was bedevilled by technical problems, and two presenters who seemed lost and out of their depth looking into the camera like "deer-in-the-headlights."

The channel's clear strategy to appoint young, good-looking people to appear on camera backfired slightly after complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority about a billboard ad which proclaimed "We aren't old farts".

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