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TopTV's porn fight heating up

2012-01-09 14:36
 
TopTV
Cape Town – TopTV is pushing ahead with its plans for porn and wants to launch its hardcore pornographic package within two weeks.

Meanwhile South Africa's broadcasting regulator is preparing a court interdict to stop the pay TV operator, should it launch its pornographic package before there has been a public hearing and a decision on the application.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) served TopTV with papers last week and the regulator overseeing South Africa's broadcasting industry is getting ready for a possible court fight with TopTV if the broadcaster goes ahead with its plans for porn without regulatory approval.

Porn without approval

In a letter to subscribers at the end of 2011, TopTV initially indicated December 20 as its Christmas launch date for its pornographic, stand-alone package with a separate monthly subscription fee of R199 for the three channels. Now Heather Kennedy, vice president for content marketing at the channel, is saying that TopTV's three pornographic channels will "go live within the next two weeks".

TopTV has applied for "authorisation of channels" from Icasa which was published in the Government Gazette in November, asking the public and stakeholders for comment.  Icasa then has to hold a public hearing and then decide on the application.

None of this has happened yet.

Meanwhile TopTV's plan has been met with widespread vocal public resistance. Several faith-based umbrella groups representing Christian denominations, Muslims and Hindus are also jointly criticising TopTV's porn plans and calling for a commercial boycott of TopTV as well as advertisers on the pay TV platform.

Icasa received several submissions from the public and industry stakeholders regarding TopTV's porn plans.

Legal action considered

Icasa is now readying legal action against TopTV should the pay TV provider push ahead and broadcast pornography.

According to Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka: "The authority is indeed considering legal action against On Digital Media (ODM) in the form of a court interdict."

Icasa wants to "prevent the licensee from going ahead with the launch of the three additional video channels as applied for" if TopTV starts broadcasting pornography before a public hearing has taken place.

TopTV has received no authorisation certificate from Icasa for new channels. Icasa plans to set a public hearing date at the end of January.

TopTV did not respond to a media request for comment and clarification on the pay platform's plans regarding the new package and why TopTV is pushing ahead despite not having an authorisation certificate to do so.
 
Read more on:    icasa  |  toptv  |  pornography  |  tv  |  sex
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