Presumably in response to my letter (Ditching DStv over ANN7, September 7), Frans Cronje maintains that it is a mistake to put pressure on MultiChoice to remove ANN7 from the DStv platform, because "being a free society means having to accept views one disagrees with" (Bad idea to oust ANN7, September 8).
I agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, as I respect Cronje’s views in opposition to mine. That said, here is my fundamental difficulty with applying a free speech argument in support of ANN7: ANN7 purports to be a news channel, but, in my view, it is, in fact, a purveyor of shameless and divisive propaganda.
Imagine for a moment that tomorrow MultiChoice announces the launch of a new exciting science channel, with shows like "Evolution Debunked" and "How Contraception Kills". I’d reach for my keyboard to protest the existence of that new channel as readily as I do to argue against the existence of ANN7. Especially if it became widely known that this new channel was sponsored by the Catholic Church. This is not because I deny anyone’s right to take these views. I do, however, deny their right to espouse such views in a public forum and call it science.
My position has nothing to do with free speech, it has everything to do with integrity — in my book you don’t get to be a sponsored, propagandist mouthpiece and then masquerade as a "24-hour news channel focusing on constructive, nation-building stories in the interests of building a culture of unity and pride in SA" (taken verbatim from the ANN7 website). How’s that been working out for us?
In any event, I agree with the basic tenet of Cronje’s approach. Long live the free market — MultiChoice should absolutely get to choose whether to enable the likes of ANN7.
So should KPMG. So should McKinsey. And so should I.
I choose not to. Cancelling my DStv subscriptions won’t move the needle, I know, but it does make me feel a little better.