1 Feb Interview: MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela on ANN7, SABC deals

Was MultiChoice justified in ending its contract with formerly Gupta-owned 24-hour news channel ANN7? Did the broadcaster use the deal to try to influence government policy? Did it bully the SABC to try to influence government policy on encryption?
These are some the questions TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod put to MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela in a no-holds-barred podcast interview on Thursday.
In the podcast, McLeod asked Mawela whether MultiChoice would have renewed its deal with ANN7 if the channel wasn’t so controversial. He asked why the company took so long to change its mind on the channel, especially if it was causing reputational damage.
Why did MultiChoice play hardball with the SABC on an anti-encryption clause in its channel-supply agreement negotiations? Was it trying to influence government policy through the backdoor?
Is the pay-television broader bending in the political wind, as alleged by Daily Maverick columnist Marianne Thamm? And why did it (appear to) change its tune on ANN7 between late last year, when Naspers chairman Koos Bekker gave radio interviews on the issue, and this week’s decision to can the channel.
Does MultiChoice regret taking a hostile position against former communications minister Yunus Carrim by taking out full-page newspaper advertisements decrying encryption in digital terrestrial broadcasting? And did Naspers chairman Bekker – then the CEO – give his blessing to publish them?
Mawela answers all these questions and more in this hard-hitting interview. Don’t miss it!
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