On Digital Media broadcasts as TopTV and is in the process of being bought by China’s StarTimes media group. However TopTV is suffering a major backlash from South African consumers and religious leaders. TopTV last month won approval from South Africa’s ICASA media regulator to start carrying ‘adult’ TV channels from Playboy and others. The channels can transmit between 8pm-5am.
The approval for the X-rated channels immediately sparked the anger of the South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), which described it as “inconsistent”. Nabeweya Mallick, spokesperson for the MJC, said the council was “disappointed”, at ICASA’s insensitivity to the rights of tastes of religious and race groups and cultures. “We feel they have really failed the standards set by ICASA. If one is sensitive to the rights of these groups… what about the rights of women?” she questioned. The justification for allowing this to take place was “inadequate”, as TopTV stated that the only complaints and submission they received were on moral grounds. “Every ruling by most of the regulators including ICASA as well as the Ombudsman looks at moral dimensions as well as evidential dimensions,” she said.
Also irritated by the approval are Christian groups, which have threatened to boycott Top TV since the announcement of its intention to broadcast pornography. About six Christian organisations have affiliated themselves with the boycott, including the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and the Methodist Church of South Africa, the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA, Assemblies of God of SA, the Baptist Union of SA, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference and Church of England in SA are among the churches that joined the boycott.
The Family Policy Initiative, which favours religious commitment, also backs the boycott. “We believe that this is more relative to political expediency than what is happening in our nation. As a result the only recourse we have is to intensify the nationwide boycott. We are calling on all South Africans to cancel their TopTV subscription immediately,” stressed a spokesman.