Satellite pay-TV broadcaster TopTV is seeking legal advice after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) issued reasons for not approving its application for three new adult channels.
In its statement explaining why it denied TopTV’s application, ICASA provided the following reasons:
- The right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV’s right to freedom of expression, as well as the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television in the home.
- TopTV’s failure to take ICASA’s public consultation process seriously damaged its application.
- ICASA sees no reason to expand access to pornography given government’s restrictions on the content through the Film and Publications Act.
In the lead-up to the showdown between the ICASA and TopTV, the broadcaster asserted that a regulatory blunder on ICASA’s part meant that its application had been automatically approved.
ICASA disagreed and obtained an interdict from the High Court to prevent TopTV from launching its porn channels, which would show content from Playboy TV.
According to ICASA, the interdict was to allow them to conduct public hearings before deciding whether TopTV’s application would be granted. TopTV did not attend the hearings.
Acting CEO of TopTV, Eddie Mbalo, said that “only 13 written submissions” were presented to ICASA, adding that “the detractors to an issue such as adult content are more vocal.”