Icasa ‘was misled’ about TV porn

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Cape Town - Loving couples gazing “adoringly into each other’s eyes” and engaging in “conventional” sexual intercourse - this was the kind of content the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) expected would be aired when it gave the go-ahead for three adult content channels, the Western Cape High Court has heard.

But the schedule for one of the channels included such titles as Girls Behaving Badly, Secret Lives of Kept Wives and Backdoor Bikini Milfs.

This was according to advocate Darryl Cooke, for the Justice Alliance of South Africa, who argued on Monday that this was not what had been represented to Icasa and the public.

“It’s promoting infidelity and unsafe sex.”

Cooke said Icasa had been told that the kind of content that would be broadcast on Private Spice - since rebranded Brazzers TV - would involve loving couples in relationships. Women would be portrayed as empowered.

“It seems they acted under an illusion as to the true content they were authorising.”

Icasa had therefore not taken into consideration “what was actually going to be broadcast” in dealing with the application to air the channels. Another of the channels, Playboy TV, had “repeatedly” breached the broadcasting code of conduct in England over six years, Cooke said.

Judge Lee Bozalek is hearing an application by the alliance for a review of Icasa’s decision, which in effect authorised On Digital Media to broadcast three adult content channels subject to conditions.

The application has been consolidated with similar challenges by two other organisations, Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life International. Icasa granted On Digital Media a licence in April last year, allowing the channels to be broadcast in a certain time slot at night.

Viewers needed a subscription separate from that for their main service. There are also security measures, such as pin codes. Among the other grounds for review raised by Cooke was the approach Icasa took in authorising the broadcasting.

Murray Bridgman, advocate for Cause for Justice, raised other points in challenging the decision. These included inadequate procedure, and that pornography was an affront to the dignity of women and harmful to children and addicts. Lawyers for Doctors for Life and the respondents, including Icasa and On Digital Media, have yet to present arguments. The hearing continues on Tuesday.

Cape Times



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