South Africa's Pay TV Porn Channel Feeling the Heat

May 13, 2014 10:00 AM PST

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa's porn pay TV channel is feeling the heat from some local organizations.

Although operator On Digital Media (ODM), with the help of Chinese capital from StarTimes, has been broadcasting the Private Spice and Playboy TV channels on its StarSat (formerly the TopTV brand) platform since November 2013, opponents are now reportedly trying to have its Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)-sanctioned license revoked.

A court case expected this August will hear a joint application from the Doctors for Life, Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), and Cause for Justice organizations that was filed in the Western Cape High Court in an attempt to shut down the service.

The groups argue that ICASA erred in law in failing to find that the constitutional rights of children should have trumped the rights of StarSat's freedom of expression.

Doctors for Life further maintained that porn’s addictive affect on the human brain is similar to that of drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD.

Local Channel 24 reported that ODM declined to report how many porn subscribers it has, but said the pay TV operator, currently in business rescue, is somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 — down from its previous number of 150,000.

Just last December, ODM's interim CEO Eddie Mbalo, promised South Africa more adult content despite JASA's early pushback against the broadcaster's license.

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