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MultiChoice takeover ‘could see right-wing ranting on SA screens’

Alameen Templeton

Prepare for the “Bollore system” that will introduce right-wing, racist ranting to South African television screens if Vivendi is given the green light to take over Multichoice.

That’s the warning coming from Reporters Without Borders (RWB) which has tangled many times with Vincent Bollore, the head of the Bollore family that owns Vivendi.

He’s known in his home country as the “French Rupert Murdoch” and he has a reputation that makes many of Europe’s right-wing politicians look like angels.

Nieman Reports, a media watchdog based at Harvard University, has found Bollore’s newsgathering system laces routine news stories with racist overtones.

These “routinely make derogatory statements about migrants and have called on Muslims to renounce their faith”, and popularises “mainstreaming far-right ideas about immigrants overtaking the French population”.

So blatant have the reactionary views become that France’s journalists have formed a group – Operation Stop Bollore – after a news channel, CNews, became infected with the Bollore virus. It’s now known as “le Fox News a la France”.

The “operation” described CNews thus in 2022: “The channel [CNews] becomes the place for the broadcast of hateful, racist, homophobic, sexist speech, that of the promotion of identity entrepreneurs, of incitement to violence, that of the trivialisation of conspiracy, of climate denialism.”

RWB has described Bollore as “a real danger to both press freedom and democracy”.

Bolloré is on trial in France, where he and two Bolloré Group associates are accused of bribing the president of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, to obtain a lucrative port operating licence.

Vivendi and Canal+ have dismissed concerns that the takeover could threaten press freedom, pointing out that MultiChoice does not produce news.

The Competition Commission is investigating the proposed takeover which values MultiChoice at $2.9billion.

Bollore has described himself in France’s parliament as holding no particular ideological views, considering himself to be a Christian Democrat who is “very gentle and good natured”.

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