Court leaves Icasa to rule on TopTV’s porn channels

TopTV may not broadcast pornography channels without the permission of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the South Gauteng High Court ruled on Monday.

The pay channel applied to Icasa in September for permission to flight three porn channels.

When it received no response after two months, it decided to go ahead without Icasa’s decision.

Icasa brought an interdict application before Judge Ndawuyake Tshabalala on Friday, hoping to delay the independent broadcaster’s launch.

After lengthy arguments delivered by both parties’ legal counsel were heard until 7pm, Tshabalala announced his intention to rule on the matter “by latest Wednesday”.

The dispute relates to Icasa’s subscription broadcasting services regulations, specifically paragraphs 3.5 and 3.6. These regulations stipulate that Icasa must authorise or refuse applications for additional channels to be added to an existing bouquet within 60 days.

By November 13 2011, TopTV had received no response from Icasa about the application, which was made on September 13 2011.

The independent broadcaster argued regulations indicate that applications are approved by default if no response if forthcoming.

“If upon the expiry of the 60-day period contemplated in 3.4, the authority has not issued a certificate the channel shall be regarded as having been authorised,” reads paragraph 3.5.

Advocate Terry Motau SC, Icasa’s legal representative in the matter, maintained the body was still dealing with the application and needed more time for it to be “properly reviewed”.

“Within the South African context, the content of this proposed channel is unprecedented. The rights contained in the applicant’s broadcasting license are not enhanced by the missing of a deadline,” Motau argued.

TopTV’s legal counsel, advocate Paul Kennedy SC, disputed Motau’s claim saying Icasa did not “apply their mind” and are attempting to “shift the goalposts to suit themselves”.

“As per legislation, you can add channels to an existing bouquet with a new application. As such the argument is invalid. Icasa had the 60 days to look at this. We reminded them, time and time again, but nothing was done,” said Kennedy.

This is the second interdict Icasa sought against On Digital Media, TopTV’s parent company, after Icasa’s initial December 20 application was withdrawn.

Icasa’s initial challenge was withdrawn after TopTV agreed to move its broadcast date from December 20 2011 to January 20.

In the meantime, Icasa was hosting public hearings on the controversial content on Monday at its offices in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Icasa has made an urgent application to the high court to halt the move until January 31, when it would give its decision. — Additional reporting by Sapa

Staff Reporter
Guest Author
Advertisting

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.