Parliament to consider MultiChoice inquiry – Maxegwana

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Parliament to consider MultiChoice inquiry – Maxegwana

Parliament would consider an inquiry into damaging allegations about MultiChoice’s conduct, according to Communications Committee chair Humphrey Maxegwana. ‘We can’t just leave the issues in the public domain. It needs to be discussed and a decision needs to be taken,’ Maxegwana reportedly told Business Day yesterday. The pay-TV giant is battling claims that it bought influence over government policy on encryption for its digital migration project by paying the SABC for a 24-hour news channel and access to archives. The public broadcaster could also not encrypt its channels when the country switched to digital TV. Maxegwana’s comments followed calls from commentators such as Corruption Watch and the SACP for an inquiry. MultiChoice was also accused of paying former Gupta-owned TV station ANN7 to host its news channel in exchange for influence in the government. Last week, the DA released minutes of a high-level 2013 meeting at the SABC in which senior SABC and MultiChoice executives discussed the payment. Encryption allegedly threatened MultiChoice’s dominance in the pay-TV market. The company has denied wrongdoing but has launched an inquiry. SACP central executive committee member Yunus Carrim said the party ‘fully supports encryption. It’s about how far should business go when seeking to influence government policy. It has to be done within some sort of business ethics. You can lobby but you can’t buy government policy.’

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