Monday, November 3, 2014

BREAKING. Court orders ODM and StarTimes Media SA's StarSat to stop broadcasting its pornography TV channels.

The Western Cape High Court on Monday ordered StarSat to stop broadcasting its pornography TV channels in South Africa when the court found that South Africa's broadcasting regulator, Icasa, erred in providing a licence to StarSat to show hardcore pornography on television.

Judge Lee Bozalek said the decision by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to grant a licence to StarSat, run by On Digital Media (ODM) and China's StarTimes South Africa, to broadcast pornography on television was reviewed and set aside.

ODM 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.

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.

The struggling StarSat which is in business rescue, rebranded at the end of last year from TopTV, has been showing hardcore pornography channels in a separate bouquet and the Woodmead based satellite pay-TV operator has since quietly substituted the Private Spice sex channel for the Brazzers channel.

Around 400 StarSat subscribers has since signed up for the sex channels according to court papers, with Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life who took Icasa and StarSat to court for allowing and broadcasting pornography on television in South Africa.

"The matter is remitted back to the second respondent [Icasa] for reconsideration," said judge Lee Bozalek on Monday. Icasa and StarSat also have to pay the legal cost of the court case.

Monday's judgment means that, because the decision by Icasa to allow pornography on television has been set aside, that ODM and StarTimes SA will have to halt to broadcasting of the sex channels, until a new review of the StarSat's porn application.