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Image: 123RF/marcociannarel via TimesLIVE

Newzroom Afrika – which has been selected to produce the new 24-hour news channel to be broadcast on DStv – is a new company formed by television production entrepreneurs Thokozani Nkosi of Eclipse TV and Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation.

Gospel show producer Nkosi said the company was entirely independent as he and news reader Ngwato were the only owners, in a 50-50 partnership.

Nkosi‚ who has run Eclipse TV for 10 years‚ said he believed the new channel would increase SA’s news-watching audience.

“We believe in fair‚ balanced and unafraid reporting.”

Nkosi said the new company aimed to launch the news channel in early 2019.

Ngwato has been an SABC news anchor for several years.

She said the company had appointed Zanele Mthembu and Malebo Phage to its editorial management team‚ and former press ombudsman Joe Thloloe to head the channel’s editorial ethics oversight board.

Eclipse TV produces reality gospel music talent-search show I Want to Sing Gospel (SABC2)‚ Big Up! (SABC1) and It’s Gospel Time (SABC2)‚ according to the company’s website.

A MultiChoice statement said: “Their bid stood out for its potential to bring a fresh‚ creative and diversified approach to news reporting‚ which included an integrated digital strategy‚ combined with sound audience analysis and appealing on-screen execution.”

MultiChoice SA CEO Calvo Mawela said: “Today marks the birth of an exciting new and independent media voice in South Africa.

“We set out to find a quality new‚ black-owned‚ independent news channel to expand the diversity of SA news and enrich our democracy – we’re excited by the outcome.

“Independent‚ trustworthy media are essential to a healthy democracy and the calibre of journalists on the Newzroom Afrika team will ensure that this new channel plays its part with distinction,” Mawela said.

“The Eclipse TV and Rapid Innovation teams have a great track record of entrepreneurial success.

They will be supported by an editorial team that will deliver independent views of events unfolding in SA and around the world‚ while the owners concentrate on running the business successfully.

“We were looking for a news channel that is distinctly different from what is currently available.

“We want to drive sustainable transformation in the television industry and to contribute to the diversity of views in our country and continent.”

As with other news channels on DStv such as SABC News‚ eNCA‚ Business Day TV‚ CNN‚ Sky News and Al Jazeera‚ MultiChoice will have no editorial oversight over the new channel.

MultiChoice will keep details of the selection process that determined the successful bidder confidential.

Answering a question from an unnamed‚ unsuccessful bidder‚ on Tuesday‚ Mawela said the public would not be taken through every element of the process.

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