On instructions of African News Agency (ANA), our attorneys, Webber Wentzel, sent letters of demand to Times Media Group, Ann Crotty, Ray Hartley, Business Day and Business Live on 8th of March 2017 demanding that they retract defamatory statements made about ANA in an article, “Breaking the News” published on 23 February 2017. They were given three days to retract the defamatory article but have instead released a further statement repeating the original defamatory article.
Ann Crotty and Times Media Group’s Financial Mail have in their most recent statement misinformed the public by stating that they had contacted ANA. We wish to make it clear that at no stage has any reporter from Financial Mail, Business Day or Business Live contacted ANA, its Chief Executive or President regarding the claims made in their article. Furthermore, no other ANA staff member was contacted by the Financial Mail or Ann Crotty regarding the claims published in their original article. In this regard Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail and Business Live chose to ignore ethical journalistic practice by neglecting to verify the validity of any of their claims.
ANA is a global content syndication service provider with video, text and pictures using world class technology which has attracted international investors both for its content syndication service and its soon-to-be-launched social media platforms. These investors are partners and committed to ANA’s growth strategy within South Africa and the rest of the world. ANA further plans to extend its footprint into various other locations including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Mumbai.
The defamatory article published by Ann Crotty and the Financial Mail has resulted in significant reputational damage to ANA, its international investors and partners, including its 40-plus media partners globally. Should Ann Crotty, the Financial Mail, Business Live, Business Day or any other reporter of Times Media Group have contacted ANA, we would gladly have provided them with the correct information.
ANA has set aside a substantial sum to litigate against Times Media Group and Tiso Blackstar, to claim an amount of R500 million in damages suffered.
To date, ANA has raised more than R2 billion in the global capital market from our investors and has their full backing to pursue a full damages claim against Ann Crotty, Times Media Group, its publications and other executives for these defamatory statements. ANA also plans to hold Tiso Blackstar, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, to account for these defamatory statements. ANA strongly believes its claims will be successful against Times Media Group, its publications, Ann Crotty and others for the publication of numerous false defamatory statements.
Through the article published by Times Media Group and its publications, Ann Crotty has dragged ANA into the alleged ongoing smear campaign by several journalists, including former journalists of Independent Media against Independent Media, Sekunjalo and Dr Survé. Recent statistics and industry research show that Times Media Group is facing financial challenges and have lost significant market share to their rivals including Independent Media, Media24 and CTP. More importantly, their rivals, continue to outperform them in terms of circulation and technology innovation.
ANA is reluctant, but feels compelled to take legal action against Times Media Group in the South African and UK courts and, after having carefully considered the legal issues ANA is confident that it will be successful in holding them to account for publishing false and defamatory statements.
Issued by Grant Fredericks
Chief Executive Officer
African News Agency