South Africa’s broadcasting regulator ICASA defended its decision to grant licenses for three adult TV channels to TopTV (now being taken over by Star Times).
Speaking at a Western Cape High Court hearing in Cape Town, an ICASA lawyer, Paul Kennedy said the licensed channels were in accordance with the X18 rating of the Films and Publications Act and carried warnings at all times. “These are three mainstream channels which are permitted by the laws overseas and by the broadcasters,” he said. “ICASA was also entitled to take into account the fact that we have legislation here which deals with inappropriate, unacceptable, unlawful, impermissible forms of pornography.”
ICASA is defending its decision in case brought by various public interest groups, and centred on the potential for harm that the channels could create. Reg Willis, lawyer for one of the applicants, Doctors for Life, told the court on Tuesday ICASA had granted the licenses without understanding the “dangers” behind porn. “They have allowed a company who is in financial straits to come into the bedrooms, lounges and living rooms of the nation,” he said, adding the public engagement process was “demonstrably ineffective and it does not pass constitutional muster”.