MultiChoice makes it crystal clear on RT going dark in SA: ‘It’s out of our control’

RT employees work in its international studio in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

UPDATED: March 4, 2022

On Friday morning, MultiChoice again had to issue a statement making it clear that RT’s broadcast in South Africa is completely out of its control.

This came after several local news outlets and the EFF wrongly lambasted MultiChoice for the Russian public broadcaster which died out in South Africa.

“We want to reaffirm that we cannot continue to broadcast Russia TV on DSTV for reasons beyond our control. global chain distributor (which are based in Europe) has stopped providing the streaming feed to all of its providers, including MultiChoice, due to sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union.

“Our role as a broadcaster is to provide a platform for various news channels. Our aim is to allow our subscribers to select the channels they wish to view. We have no editorial control over the content of the “third party” channels, nor do we endorse any point of view.”

Where did RT go? ICASA updated as many weigh in on Russia’s darkening TV network across the globe


At an RT studio in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

MultiChoice on Thursday says News24 that he was in communication with South Africa’s broadcasting regulator, ICASA, after he lost access to the Russian state-backed channel RT on Wednesday night.

RT went dark on Wednesday night in South Africa, leaving DStv subscribers with a black screen on channel 407.

MultiChoice said in a statement that RT is gone until further notice because “sanctions imposed on Russia have led the channel’s global distributor to stop providing the broadcast feed to all providers, including MultiChoice.”

At the time, ICASA expressed concern that MultiChoice had not informed them that RT would be pulled from DStv.

According to MultiChoice, he communicated to ICASA early Thursday the circumstances that led to RT’s shutdown.

“It was not possible to notify ICASA yesterday (Wednesday) as the channel’s global distributor abruptly stopped the broadcast stream to all providers, including MultiChoice,” the main entertainment company said. HER. News24.

The South African National Publishers Forum (SANEF) also released a statement on Thursday afternoon, saying it was “concerned about the removal of a series of news channels dealing with the crisis in Ukraine.”

“This ranges from silent independent news channels in Russia to channels such as RT (formerly Russia Today or Rossiya Segodnya) being removed from the MultiChoice platform in South Africa.

“The RT stream was blocked by MultiChoice’s provider in Europe following sweeping EU sanctions against Russia following that country’s invasion of Ukraine. This was followed by blocking RT from many news feeds and technology platforms globally,” SANEF said.

“While we support freedom of access to a diversity of viewpoints, we do not support misinformation on any channel; and call on all to report factually, unbiased, and truthfully for the benefit of all of their audiences.”

The non-profit organization – whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of South African media – added: “RT is an international television network controlled by the Russian state financed by the Russian government’s fiscal budget; and as so widely perceived as a tool of state propaganda. It is nevertheless a source of information from Russia, which viewers could access along with all the other channels, to critically assess its credibility and information for themselves.

LEARN MORE | RT shuts down in South Africa after global distributor cuts power

Before a pay-TV service like MultiChoice adds TV channels, it must get permission from ICASA.

“ICASA wants it on record that the broadcast of RT on the DStv platform is and continues to be a commercial agreement between the subscription television broadcaster, MultiChoice and RT,” the regulator said in a press release.

“The authority’s role in broadcasting RT was only limited to channel authorization submitted by the licensee – in this case, MultiChoice – and approved by ICASA prior to the channel’s introduction” added ICASA President Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng.

Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) has confirmed that it has been receiving complaints about RT’s broadcasting in South Africa since last week.

The BCCSA said News24 Thursday morning in response to a media query that he had received 26 complaints from South African viewers on Russia Today up to yesterday (Wednesday) morning. The BCCSA again stressed that the organization has no jurisdiction to suppress or reinstate a television channel.

The EFF denounces the disappearance of RT

Political party EFF, in a statement, wrongly blamed MultiChoice for RT’s removal, saying: “EFF condemns broadcaster MultiChoice for unilaterally deciding to remove Russia Today from DStv’s bouquets, amid conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

He added: “We demand the immediate reinstatement of Russia Today.”

MultiChoice in its official statement made it clear that the channel’s feed was cut off by the global distributor and was not a decision made by the local broadcaster.

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