Icasa’s TV porn ruling is ‘absurd’

2014-08-06 09:42

The Justice Alliance of South Africa has said it has filed papers in the high court in Cape Town to challenge the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s decision to allow three pornographic channels to be broadcast on TV after 8pm.

“The justice alliance believes that it is a step too far to introduce pornography to the family TV, which is usually in the only living room in the home,” the alliance said yesterday.

“Inevitably children will be aware of it, even if parents attempt to prevent them watching. The 8pm watershed period is absurd because teenage children settle down to watch TV at that time after doing their homework.”

The justice alliance said it was supported by applications brought by Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life.

Papers were filed in court in November last year.

“As advised by counsel, the justice alliance alleged that the authority (Icasa) erred in law in failing to find that the constitutional rights of children were laws of general application, which should have trumped the rights to freedom of expression,” the justice alliance said.

“Furthermore, the justice alliance alleges that Icasa ignored their obligation ... to consider the moral and spiritual implications of TV channels ...”

In April last year, Icasa granted a licence to On Digital Media (operating as Top TV) to air three pornography channels.

The notice authorised On Digital Media to broadcast the three adult content channels: Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice.

Top TV said the pornographic channels would be a separate package for subscribers, and required a separate monthly subscription, age verification and other security features, such as a secure pin code.

The company said the decision by Icasa to grant it a licence to air three pornography channels was “a victory for democracy and freedom of speech”.

It said security measures would be put in place to ensure that only viewers who willingly subscribed had access to the pornography channels.

At the time, the Film and Publications Board welcomed Icasa’s decision.

The justice alliance’s application would be heard on Monday by Judge Lee Bozalek.

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