ANN7 (African News Network) is South Africa's third 24-hour news channel, as broadcast on Multichoice's DStv satellite television service. The channel's launch in August 2013 was initially met with public mockery when numerous technical issues and mistakes made by untrained presenters went viral online.
ANN7 is primarily controlled by Infinity Media Networks which is owned jointly by Essel Media (35%), Oakbay Investments, the Gupta family’s investment vehicle (35%), Mabengela Investments (21%) and a further 9% has been reserved for staff and management. Mabengela Investments is a broad-based black economic empowerment company of which Duduzane Zuma holds a 45% stake. Other shareholders are Rajesh Kumar Gupta (25%), Aerohaven Trading (15%), Fidelity Investments (10%), Mfazi Investments (3%) and Ashu Chawla (2%). Additionally, the Gupta Media conglomerate control and operate The New Age, a South African daily newspaper which was ranked the 'Most influential English daily newspaper’ by Mediatenor in the last quarterly results.
The international news broadcaster Al Jazeera English has alleged that Zuma's close relationship with the Guptas has "translated into friendly coverage in the outlets they own," such as ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.
Programming provided by ANN7 includes news segments, sports highlights, political and news-based talk-shows with round-table discussions, nationwide weather reports, and lifestyle, entertainment and special interest news
The ANN7 studios, operating out of their purpose-built Midrand studios, employs a team of 76 journalists. According to its website, Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) will focus on "constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride."
Coverage of the 2014 general election
ANN7 launched its Election 2014 campaign to coincide with ANC’s January 8 announcement, followed by the State of the Nation address, extensive coverage of the launch of various political party’s manifestos and regular news updates in its news bulletins.
SA Decides was a flagship show for the channel over the election period. SA Decides visited over 200 towns over 45 days to hear how people felt their lives had changed since the first democratic elections were held in 1994. Nine teams comprising 45 media professionals embarked on the roadshow, and the stories were packaged into provincial news packages which were aired on the SA Decides show daily. The teams also held live discussion with political parties and community leaders where the public were able to engage with decision makers. The show also featured many prominent leaders, analysts and public figures who formed part of our panel discussions on different issues relating to South Africa's democracy. The segment ‘If I were the President’ in the show received strong response from viewers from across the country. Simultaneously, the teams carried out a convenience poll which provided a sample of close to 15 000 respondents on the possible political party’s parliamentary representation.
On 7 May from 06h00 to 23h00 ANN7’s team of political editors, analysts and guests broadcast live from the IEC centre in Pretoria and from the Midrand studios bringing breaking news and results as they were announced. In addition the SA Decides teams backed up by OB units and its team of journalists provided 15 live sources to cover the elections from every angle and from each of the 9 Provinces. In addition the ANN7 helicopter had flown teams into election hotspots to uncover the news on the ground.
The ANN7 election team was led by Group Editor Moegsien Williams and included Senior political editor Ricky Naidoo, Senior Political commentator Hajra Omarjee, Prime Time anchor Chantal Rutter-Dros and a supporting team of over 70 journalists, anchors and technical staff.
Coverage of the 2016 Gupta family controversy
In March 2016 ANN7, along with the Gupta owned newspaper The New Age, was strongly criticised by the African National Congress (ANC) for its coverage of President Jacob Zuma's relationship with the Gupta family and the ensuing political controversy around the issue. The broadcaster along with The New Age apologised for its coverage shortly after the ANC's criticism was stated.