The decision to launch three adult pay channels on local television is about money, nonprofit organisation Doctors for Life told the Western Cape high court on Tuesday.
Reg Willis, for Doctors for Life, argued that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) had granted the licences to struggling On Digital Media (ODM) without understanding the “dangers” behind porn.
“They have allowed a company who is in financial straits to come into the bedrooms, lounges and living rooms of the nation.”
He said Icasa had failed in its duty to engage the public with its ineffective Government Gazette notice and subsequent public hearing.
“This process is demonstrably ineffective and it does not pass constitutional muster.”
Doctors for Life, Cause for Life, and the Justice Alliance of South Africa are challenging Icasa’s decision last April to grant a licence to ODM (operating as Top TV and later StarSat) to air the porn channels.
In October 2012, ODM resolved to begin business rescue proceedings after experiencing financial distress. A business rescue practitioner Peter van den Steen was appointed to develop a rescue plan for ODM.
Last year Chinese firm StarSat acquired a stake in Top TV.
Murray Bridgman, for Cause for Life, also seemed to think the pornographic channels were about money rather than exercising the right to artistic expression.
“It’s a peripheral right to make money for ODM, to try and get ODM out of the dwang [difficulties]. I say that is not the sort of constitutional right that needs to be defended or upheld by any administrator,” he said. — Sapa