Cape Town – On Digital Media (ODM), which runs the TopTV pay TV platform, has gone on the defensive over its planned porn bouquet, issuing a press statement saying that pornography "is harmless" and that "TopTV does not apologise for giving those who do wish to view adult content on television access to such content".
At launch in May 2010, ODM CEO Vino Govender said TopTV would not run pornographic channels as part of TopTV's business plan, saying "we are running our business with strong Christian ethical codes and we are not planning to introduce a porn channel. Besides, we don't want to poison the minds of the millions of South African children out there".
In September 2011 the company signed a carriage agreement with Playboy TV
UK/Benelux to broadcast three channels – Adult XXX, Private Spice and Playboy Europe – as a stand-alone package and a separate subscription of R199, saying "stagnating to past statements will not serve the changed needs from our clients or assist our growth".
TopTV issued a press statement on Monday citing pornography research, TopTV's own porn package research, and explaining its porn plans again. 'Porn is harmless'
In the press release TopTV says pornography is "not only harmless, but it also reduces incidence of sex crimes in communities and in countries where people have free, non-stigmatised access to it".
TopTV's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Marius Liebenberg, says the pay TV operator notes that "those opposed to the new channels would appear to be in the minority" and that "the vast majority of people who have responded publicly and on social media networks say that they look forward to the introduction of the adult content".HEALTH24: Why many men like porn
Liebenberg said: "The matter has stimulated debate afresh on adult content, its accessibility, the sexual lifestyle choices of people and the very strong reactions – both positive and negative – that the imminent launch of the Adult Pack of channels in South Africa has provoked''.Dr Eve: A bold move
In the press release TopTV said Dr Marlene Wasserman, known as Dr Eve to millions of South Africans, is calling "TopTV's initiative to create the adult pack of channels a bold move".
"Solid and comprehensive sexuality education for both parents and children is absent, she says and there are scant models for children around healthy relationships and sexuality. Poverty, unemployment, inadequate healthcare and poor education leads to sexual violence. Adult content does not," read the press release.
TopTV says "such material is already freely available in the market place on mobile phones, the internet and at specialist outlets.
"TopTV is satisfied that it has more than sufficient mechanisms in place to protect those who are either too young to be exposed to adult television content, or those who take exception to such content.
"However, TopTV does not apologise for giving those who do wish to view adult content on television access to such content."Plans halted
TopTV wanted to launch the porn package on December 20. The date was moved to Friday, January 20, but the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) was granted an urgent court interdict to prevent TopTV from launching the bouquet before a public consultation process took place and Icasa can decide on whether to approve the new porn package or not.
TopTV's porn plans have engulfed the pay TV operator which is finding itself in the middle of massive public furore.
Its plans elicited widespread criticism from the public, faith-based groups
and the Film and Publication Board (FPB) which said it will "strongly oppose" TopTV's porn plans.