Appeal Court refuses to hear TV porn broadcaster

starsatpornThe Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has dismissed with costs an application by On Digital Media Media (ODM) for leave to appeal against a Western Cape High Court order preventing it from broadcasting hardcore pornography channels on its StarSat (formerly TopTV) pay-TV service.

Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA), supported by Doctors for Life (DFL) and Cause for Justice (CFJ), have won yet another victory in the long running saga over the broadcaster’s “efforts to pollute our homes with pornography on TV”, says JASA in a media release.

“The Supreme Court of Appeal have curtly dismissed the petition seeking leave to appeal on the ground that there is no reasonable prospect of success; and they ordered ODM to pay all the costs,” says JASA.

Commenting on the ruling, CFJ says: “Due to StarSat’s failed attempt to appeal, they must immediately stop broadcasting pornography. We are, however, aware of the fact that StarSat is entitled to approach the Constitutional Court in order to apply for leave to appeal, in which case the original order (by the High Court) will be suspended pending the leave to appeal proceedings at the Constitutional Court.

“CFJ is overjoyed at the decision made of the Supreme Court of Appeal and sincerely believe that it will not be in the interest of justice for StarSat to again attempt to appeal this matter to the Constitutional Court. The reason for our aforesaid submission is merely because we and our legal team believe that there is no prospect that the Constitutional Court will materially reverse or materially alter the decision made by the High Court. We will therefore oppose any attempt by StarSat to obtain leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.”

ODM has been fighting since 2011 for the right for its financially struggling pay-TV service to broadcast porn. After turning down ODM’s porn broadcasting licence request in 2012, the Independent Communications Authority (Icasa) granted them a licence in 2013 to broadcast three hardcore porn channels subject to conditions. JASA and its co-applicants took up the issue and on Novemember 3, 2014 WC High Court Judge Mr Justice Bozalek struck down the licence and directed Icasa to reconsider the matter applying the correct legal principles. On December 12 the judge refused ODM and Icasa leave to appeal against his judgment. Thereafter ODM defied the law in continuing to broadcast the pornographic channels without a licence, says JASA. On January 7, 2015, ODM filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein seeking leave to appeal and was able to continue screening porn pending a ruling. 

Advocate Darryl Cooke and Attorney Elana Hannington of Norman, Wink and Stephens appeared for JASA in the SCA matter.

 

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