JASA takes Top TV to court over porn channels

toptvpornThe Christian-based Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA) yesterday filed papers in the Western Cape High Court in a bid to stop Top TV starting to broadcast three pornography channels on December 1.

In a media release JASA says it believes that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) erred in law in failing to find that the Constitutional Rights of Children were laws of general application which should have trumped the rights of Top TV to freedom of expression.

In a ruling in April the broadcasting regulator approved struggling pay-television platform Top TV’s application to broadcast porn during the “watershed period” (from 8pm to 5am), stating that there is no law in SA against screening pornography other than a law against producing and distributing child pornography. According to recent media reports TopTV is relaunching on December 1 as StarSat, with a wider range of content, including a standalone pornography bouquet, Playboy TV. The relaunch is the result of a  partnership between Chinese digital pay-TV provider StarTimes and On Digital Media (ODM), which owns Top TV.

JASA contends in its papers that fixing a watershed time of 8pm flies in the face of common sense, bearing in mind that most teenage children finish their homework at about 8pm and then watch TV for an hour or two until bedtime. JASA says it has included statistics in its papers to this effect.

JASA asks the court to review the findings of ICASA and send the matter back to them to apply the law correctly.

Church leaders have previously warned that if Top TV broadcasts porn it will intensify a nationwide boycott of the broadcaster and its supporters.

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