TopTV's porn case still undecided

2012-01-15 12:18
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – The battle to pump hardcore pornography over South Africa's TV airwaves is now even more complicated.

It was revealed on Friday that the Independent Broadcasting Authority of South Africa (Icasa)'s case to block pay TV operator TopTV from broadcasting porn without a license will only be decided upon by the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Icasa, in keeping with the regulatory application process for new TV channels, is holding its own public hearing on Monday January 16 at 10:00 at its Sandton office which anyone can attend.

Icasa will hear from the public and stakeholders on whether to grant approval to TopTV to launch its new stand-alone pornographic package of hardcore, 24-hour pornographic TV channels - Private Spice, Adult XXX and Playboy Europe - which TopTV now intends to launch on January 20.

Friday's court case stretched for several hours, with the South Gauteng High Court indicating that a decision will only be made on Wednesday on whether Icasa's urgent court interdict will be granted.

Despite reputational damage and having no approval certificate from Icasa who must still hold Monday's public hearing on the matter and after that make a decision, TopTV is adamant on launching the new pornographic channel set irrespective of what Icasa says.

Resistance

TopTV's porn plan, which has been making international news, has been met with resistance from TopTV subscribers, the South African public which includes South African Christian, Muslim and Hindu faith-based groups, and organisations such as the Film and Publication Board (FPB) which said it will "strongly oppose" the plan.

TopTV planned to launch its porn package on December 20 as it told TopTV subscribers in a letter at the end of 2011; then moved the date to 20 January.

Private Spice, Adult XXX and Playboy Europe

The channels Private Spice, Adult XXX and Playboy Europe are provided by Playboy UK/Benelux Limited.

TopTV, which signed carriage agreements with the group in 2011, says it needs to launch and start broadcasting the porn package due to contractual time stipulations made with the content providers.

TopTV plans to make the three TV channels available at a combined additional price of R199 per month in a separate subscription requiring an additional PIN code.

Icasa argued that TopTV cannot launch any TV channels until the regulatory process, which Icasa is obliged to carry out, has been completed and then only if permission is granted. TopTV argued that Icasa has no basis to bring an interdict since the pay TV operator believes that it has automatic approval to start broadcasting porn.

TopTV said it has a right to broadcast porn since it applied for the porn package licence on September 13 and that 60 days had lapsed since the application, which gives the pay TV operator automatic approval by November 13, 2011.

The "application for authorisation for channels" was first published in the Government Gazette on November 17. That gave the public and stakeholders two weeks to comment after which Icasa can then at its own discretion call for a date for a public hearing.

Breakdown

Here is a breakdown of the latest dates and what will now be happening:

Monday January 16: Public hearing at Icasa in Sandton on TopTV's porn application. After this Icasa must still make a decision about whether to approve or deny the application in Icasa's own time.

Wednesday January 18: A separate process: A decision by the South Gauteng High Court to either grant or refuse Icasa's urgent court interdict. If granted, it will block TopTV and make the pay TV operator revert to Icasa's timeframe for TV channel approval. If refused TopTV will go ahead without regulatory approval and launch its porn package as soon as possible.

Friday January 20: The date that TopTV wants to launch Adult XXX, Private Spice and Playboy Europe as three pornographic channels in a stand-alone, separate subscription package, irrespective of clearance from Icasa.

Comments

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 12:48

    I don't see why it is anyone's business what is available to adults who choose the service. The religious types won't see it, neither will their children. But type in anything to google and you get hardcore porn in about half a second, with no filter. Freedom of Speech is a Constitutional Right. By the way I don't have Top TV and don't care for porn. But why should my viewpoint be the standard to which others must adhere. It's time for the Mother Grundies to think about freedom. How would they like it if I asked them to close all churches as they offend all the athiests (which I am not either).

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 13:26

      Thumbs down by invisible people but no argument to back up why. Please someone give me an argument that can actually be credible and is more important than our constitution.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 13:55

      And regardless of any moral code, ICASA dropped the ball in any case. TopTV has every right to broadcast immediately. The problem in the court is not porn, it's due process, which has been followed. If ICASA is found to be in the right then the entire process is up for debate. What if, for example, a channel broadcasts something anti-government. Would ICASA then be able to seek an interdict to stop them broadcasting. This sounds far-fetched but this is about freedom of information, something we know the ANC does not like.

      Rudi Van Der Bank - 2012-01-15 14:02

      My point is just that if people want to watch porn let thenm watch! I won't get it in my house because its my house but if somebody wants it they should be able to get it!

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 16:38

      That's nice Fred, judging people like that. Read your book a little more, there's a clause in there about that kind of thing. What do athiests and occultists have to do with this particular story anyway?

      Jaco - 2012-01-15 17:06

      The URL provided by Majorus (later on) presents an interesting article. I find the trend emerging from the study, that those states (USA) that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, interesting. Fred, how do you explain that?

  • Wayne - 2012-01-15 13:19

    Any kid with an internet connection can access porn. Parents have a duty to make sure their kids don't see porn. Not government. The only people complaining are the ones that don't want to look after their own kids or religious nutjobs. People are angrier about this than the secrecy bill or the media tribunal act or the updated weather service act. Get with the program you ignorant fools

  • Antoinette - 2012-01-15 13:43

    With the rape and abuse in all spheres of everyday life in SA we can do without this - why dont they put that money to better use and put better programs on TOPTV which we all can watch???

      Gary - 2012-01-16 09:16

      Balstrome. I have seen cases of rape where the perp has admitted that he had been influenced by porn. Porn in any form is a terrible thing and leads to other crimes. The thing that most people do not see is the degradation of family/moral values not just in SA but worldwide. On a poll on News24 just before Christmas 80 % of people stated that religion was still relevent in the formulation of laws in SA. This was with over 15 000 respondents.

  • Majorus - 2012-01-15 14:31

    Next time someone gets all holier-than-thou over porn feel free to giggle: www.newscientist.com/article/dn16680-porn-in-the-usa-conservatives-are-biggest-consumers.html

  • gillian.sanderson - 2012-01-15 14:34

    Good luck Icasa - Personally I think its something we can do without - !

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-15 14:41

      I think we can all live without religion, spirituality, crystals, weekends, holidays and electricity. Does that work for you?

      Irene - 2012-01-15 15:41

      Fully agree with you. There is enough filth in this country and we sure don't need more.

      Irene - 2012-01-15 19:57

      @Balstrome ~ Wrong again pal. I'm agnostic so any christian belief system is way off my radar. I do oppose pornography though and anybody who has a healthy sex life would as well. Obviously you're failing in that area if you have such a strong need to watch other people doing what you're not able to. Shame.

  • Mike - 2012-01-15 18:44

    Yes again the religious lot want to decide what others can and can not do. Why can ICASA not hold hearings to stop broadcasting fairy tales on TV. Or better make them pay for a separate channel to watch their brainwashed stories.

  • Fred - 2012-01-15 19:20

    something interesting i can watch on tv,top tv u got ma vote.

  • Wayne - 2012-01-15 20:36

    Hi Fred. Please dont pray for me to die...or else i shall have to become a satanist and pray for your death. see what i did there?

  • Mark - 2012-01-16 13:56

    Now that we're seeing the public fetishization of the act of procreation when is TopIdiotBox going to launch its snuff movie channel? Fetishize the act of life-conceiving by the same token you may as well give license to publicly broadcast folks getting taken out in style. Providing you've got the plot and its professionally filmed of course. Furthermore, if you own an Idiot Box you are an Idiot. Let me repeat that: if you own an Idiot Box you are an Idiot. An atheists's point of view. For those retards and sheeple out there. Enjoy your New World Order.

  • Johan - 2012-01-19 11:17

    ah opinions , are just opinions , how about and informed opinion ? http://www.shelleylubben.com/former-porn-star-alexa-milano-story

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