South Africa's TopTV Gets Green Light to Broadcast Porn

Apr 24, 2013 7:15 AM PST

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa’s TopTV has been given the green light by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to broadcast three adult content channels.

After a series of deliberations, public consultations and two separate applications, the financially strapped broadcaster can now air Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Viewers will be faced with a double PIN code system to “safeguard children’s rights” according to an ICASA statement.

"The authority upholds the view that there is no law of general application prohibiting the production and distribution of adult content in South Africa. Only the production and distribution of child pornography is expressly prohibited by law," ICASA spokesman Paseka Maleka said.

In March, TopTV, owned by On Digital Media (ODM), said the addition of the new programming would help it dig out of its financial hole and save 250 jobs. Adult programming and sports are reportedly the key drivers for the international pay TV business.

This was TopTV’s second attempt to have the porn channels approved. Its first application for a 24-hour channel was shot down according to the company on the "presumption by ICASA that the proposed content would portray women in an undignified manner and that it would put children at risk.”

TopTV’s latest application was opposed by a number of conservative groups including the Christian Action Network that claimed porn degrades women.

Although ICASA said it considered all of the arguments against TopTV’s bid to air porn, Maleka said the regulator found that most of the arguments were based on moral grounds "rather than evidence to demonstrate some of the conclusive remarks linking pornography to gender-based violence.”

According to Business Day Live, TopTV has received an offer from Chinese firm StarTimes for 20 percent of the company in a deal that would provide it with additional content.

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