Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Broadcasting Complaints Commission to decide if StarSat will be fined up to R60 000 after it broadcast its porn channels for a month without authorisation.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) will have to decide what fine to level against On Digital Broadcasting (ODM) and StarTimes Media South Africa's StarSat satellite pay-TV platform after it broadcast it hardcore pornographic TV channels illegally for a month.

The BCCSA will decide whether StarSat, which kept broadcasting its porn channels, has been in breach of the BCCSA's Subscription Service Licencees' Code of Conduct, and what fine to level against ODM.

In a case before the BCCSA, the commission heard that StarSat kept broadcasting its set of sex channels in South Africa illegally and without being authorised to do so, from 10 December 2014 to 6 January 2015.

On 3 November 2014, Judge Lee Bozalek in a Western Cape High Court judgment, found against ODM and StarTimes Media SA's sex TV channels and that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) erred in the licensing and licensing process of granting a licence for the porn channels.

ODM filed an appeal which was dismissed on 10 December, and ODM then applied to the Supreme Court of Appeal on 7 January 215 for leave to appeal which was also dismissed with cost to ODM.

"StarSat was required by law to stop broadcasting from December 10. They refused to do so," said Greta Engelbrecht for the Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa) on Tuesday in the case before the BCCSA.

"For the period 10 December 2014 to 6 January 2015, StarSat illegally and with impunity, broadcast the unauthorised channels," said Gerda Engelbrecht.

"We need to give a message to broadcasters who broadcast without authorisation. It is not a question of content , but a question of broadcasting."

Jasa asked the BCCSA to level a fine of R60 000 against ODM and StarSat.

Steve Budlender representing ODM before the BCCSA told the commission that ODM did infringe on the broadcasting code but called it "a technical infringement".

ODM revealed that 284 StarSat subscribers accessed the pornographic TV channels during the period.

The sex channels cost subscribers R159 per month and StarSat continued to broadcast PlayboyTV and Private Spice which has since been changed to the Brazzers porn channel.