Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Opposition grows against StarSat's pornographic TV channels; court case to have porn TV license reversed, likely to be heard in August.

Opposition in South Africa has been growing against the pornographic television that is broadcast by On Digital Media's (ODM) StarSat pay-TV platform, with a court case that will likely be heard in August in a now joint application to have ODM's license for a porn bouquet revoked.

ODM, with the help of its new Chinese financial backer StarTimes, started broadcasting two pornographic TV channels - Private Spice and Playboy TV - in a separate StarSat sex TV package of R159 per month in November 2013, shortly after receiving a license from the South African broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).

On Digital Media, asked last week how many StarSat subscribers have since subscribed to the porn TV channels as a separate bouquet over the course of the last 6 months, declined to provide subscriber numbers, citing confidential company information.

Subscriber numbers for the four year old Woodmead based South African pay-TV operator, currently in business rescue, is down to between 100 000 and 120 000 from 150 000 a few years ago.

The non-govermental organisation Doctors for Life, representing 1 400 doctors, that submitted its separate court application at the High Court in Pretoria, has now seen its application being joined to the applications of the Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa) and the Cause for Justice organisations that submitted their applications in the Western Cape High Court.

Jasa and Cause for Justice argue that South Africa's broadcasting regulator - which first denied ODM's porn channels application and then approved it during a second application a year later - erred in law in failing to find that the constitutional rights of children should have trumped the rights of StarSat's freedom of expression.

Doctors for Life in court papers argues among other things about the addictive nature of pornography. Doctors for Life notes the addictive nature of pornography on the human brain, similar to that of drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD.

Jasa's application requests the court to review the broadcasting regulator's decision in granting a license for porn television channels to StarSat, formerly the TopTV brand, and for Icasa to apply the law and broadcasting regulations correctly.