Porn channels face new court challenge

StarSat – formerly TopTV – is facing another legal challenge to prevent it from offering three porn channels on the pay-TV satellite service.

The challenge comes from a non-profit human rights group, Cause for Justice, which announced that it has launched legal proceedings against the Icasa ruling which allows StarSat to run the channels.

In April 2013, the regulator announced that it had authorised Top TV to broadcast three adult content channels: Playboy TV, Desire TV, and Private Spice.

Icasa had previously blocked TopTV’s porn plans in January 2013.

In a document outlining its reasons for the u-turn on the case, Icasa said it is of the considered view that there is no evidence to demonstrate that pornography is a direct cause of gender-based violence.

According to a release published on its Facebook page, Cause for Justice has issued a court application at the North Gauteng High Court to review and set aside Icasa’s decision.

The group is moving against decision on the following legal grounds:

  • The decision was taken because irrelevant considerations were taken into account and/or relevant considerations were not considered;
  • Icasa committed a reviewable error(s) of law;
  • Icasa did not follow a fair administrative procedure;
  • The conclusions reached by Icasa are neither rationally connected to the reasons given by Icasa, nor to the information before Icasa.

“Overwhelming public opposition”

Cause for Justice describes itself as a non-profit human rights organisation “called into existence to act in the best interest of the people of South Africa by defending the family unit, the sanctity of life, freedom of conscience and the plight of the vulnerable”.

In July, Icasa noted that it received a total of five hundred and sixty nine (569) written representations from interested parties on the matter.

A public hearing was held on 14 March 2013. The following organisations made oral submissions: Family Policy Institute; African Christian Democratic Party; Free Society Institute; Doctors For Life; Africa Christian Action; Shofar Christian Church; Free Society Institute; Active for Jesus; and Evergreen Parenting.

According to Cause for Justice, 90% of written submissions were opposed to the porn channels, while seven of the nine oral presentations were also opposed.

“Despite overwhelming public opposition, ICASA approved ODM’s application to air the three pornographic channels on South African television,” the group said.

According to the group, the application was brought “out of an honest and sincere concern for the people of South Africa”, acting in the public interest.

The group believes that it has medical and scientific evidence of the negative impact of pornography on society, including: being harmful to children (who will access it as there are not enough protective mechanisms in place to safeguard them from content), as well as inciting some men to sexual violence and feeding sex addiction.

Icasa confirmed to BusinessTech that it had received the court documents, and that it would be opposing the application.

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