TopTV applies for porn channels

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Johannesburg - An application to broadcast three pornography channels has been made with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), TopTV said on Thursday.

Chief executive Eddie Mbalo said in a statement that while the law encouraged public participation, the final decision rested with Icasa, and depended on the merits of the application.

He dismissed claims that TopTV made the application in an effort to save the company, which voluntarily entered a business rescue process last year.

“It would therefore be both naïve and malicious to conclude that the granting of permission to broadcast channels would be sufficient to save a company that requires a capital injection.”

TopTV previously applied to Icasa to air the porn channels, but received no response within two months. It then decided to go ahead without Icasa's permission.

Icasa then made an urgent application to the High Court in Johannesburg, which ruled that TopTV could not broadcast the channels until Icasa had made a decision.

Mbalo said TopTV failed to participate in the previous hearings, and so had not described the protective mechanisms it would put in place for the adult content channels.

“We are willing to listen to differing points of view, but equally expect everyone to respect the democratic rights of all South Africans, including those consumers who have expressed an interest in subscribing to such an offering.”

TopTV had hitherto avoided scheduling pornography on its normal channels, he said.

“TopTV has continually avoided going this route in its belief that there should be sufficient protection, particularly for children who might otherwise access this content in the normal course of their television viewing.”

In December 2011, Christian organisations, including the Evangelical Alliance of SA and the Methodist Church of SA, planned a boycott of TopTV, its advertisers and sponsors, after the move was announced.

Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo said the broadcast of hardcore pornography on television was objectionable because it degraded women and exposed children to harmful content. - Sapa



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