South Africa's TopTV Fights to Broadcast Porn

Jan 15, 2012 12:00 PM PST

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South African satellite TV provider, TopTV is fighting for its right to broadcast porn.

According to reports, TopTV’s parent company On-Digital Media (Pty) Ltd (ODM) is facing a block by regulator Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in its effort to launch softcore Playboy Europe and hardcore Adult XXX and Private Spice programming on its newest bouquet.

The channel is defending its right to move forward with its ICASA application today in the South Gauteng High Court that will decide whether South African viewers will be able to subscribe to porn channels for the first time ever.

This is the second ICASA challenge against TopTV — the first was launched on Dec. 20 after ODM indicated it would launch its channels despite ICASA’s green light.

At that time ICASA backed down after ODM pushed back its launch date from Dec. 20 to Jan. 20.

TopTV is claiming that it’s complying with ICASA Subscription Broadcasting Services Regulations, which have been in effect since 2006. It states that the regulator has to issue a certificate authorizing or refusing to authorize applications for additional channels within 60 days from the date of application.

South Africa’s BusinessDay reported that in its affidavit, ODM argues that it had made its application on Sept. 13 last year and that the regulatory 60 days had lapsed on Nov. 13.

But ICASA is disputing TopTV’s claim and said the broadcaster has no right to launch the new channels until it has finalized its process, which is still under way.

ICASA is holding public hearing next week and hopes to make a decision by the end of the month.

Regardless, ODM said it will launch the porn channels, citing cost factors and contractual time stipulations between it and its U.K. adult content provider, Playboy TV UK/Benelux Limited.

The three adult channels will reportedly have a six-to-eight hour schedules that will be repeated to complete a 24-hour cycle.

ODM’s plan has also drawn fire from religious groups, some viewers and the film and publications board.

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