Monday, November 10, 2014

BREAKING. StarSat wants to continue pumping the porn; pay-TV provider appeals high court decision over StarSat sex channels.

On Digital Media (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa wants to continue pumping hardcore pornography through television to South African viewers and is appealing the ruling from the Western Cape High Court which found the process flawed in which South Africa's broadcasting regulator approve the porn channels.

Last week Mike Dearham, the managing director of StarTimes Media Division said in a statement the pay-TV provider will "continue to enhance and enrich its content offering" and that its strategic intent is to be Africa's "pre-eminent provider of compelling and relevant African content" and that it wants to be "a "role model for the rest of the continent".

It's evident that the pay-TV provider sees pornographic TV channels as part of its plan, with ODM and StarTimes Media SA not willing to relinquish its hardcore sex channels which it has been broadcasting since November 2013 as a separate sex package for R159 per month.

According to court documents ODM and StarTimes Media SA has around 400 subscribers for the sex channels which Icasa approved after the company applied for a second time to broadcast porn following its first application which was denied.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has not yet decided whether it, like ODM and StarTimes Media SA, will be appealing the ruling.

At the beginning of the month the Western Cape High Court ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting its pornography TV channels in South Africa after the the non-profit organisations Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life took Icasa and StarSat to court for allowing and broadcasting pornography on television in South Africa.

Judge Lee Bozalek said the decision by Icasa was reviewed and set aside, but ODM has now appealed the high court ruling.

ODM, which is in business rescue, brought two applications to show pornography to Icasa - the first of which was rejected by the regulator, and the second a year later which was approved in April 2013 after which TopTV, rebranded as StarSat, activated the pornography channels.

Icasa admitted to court that the regulator had failed to appoint experts to consider StarSat's porn plan. On Digital Media also failed to register with the Film and Publications Board (FPB) as a porn purveyor.

ODM and StarTimes Media SA and its PR company Burson-Marsteller didn't respond to media enquiries earlier this month as to whether the Woodmead-based satellite pay-TV provider would be appealing the high court decision or stop broadcasting the channels.

On Monday respond to a media enquiry seeking comment after the company did decide to appeal the high court decision, ODM says "its lawyers have reviewed the judgement and do believe there is a very good case for appeal".

The company says it has "filed an Application for Leave to Appeal the judgement to a full bench of the Western Cape Division or the Supreme Court of Appeal".

"ODM has at all times ensured that it meets all the conditions of the licence by offering the adult content channels as a separate and verified subscription package, broadcast during the watershed period of 20:00 and 05:00, accessible only with a double-pin process. This made it extremely unlikely that children would be able to access the content."