Icasa defends StarSat channels decision - TechCentral

Icasa defends StarSat channels decision


Members of the public were sufficiently advised that On Digital Media (ODM) was applying for three adult channels, communications regulator Icasa told the Western Cape high court on Tuesday.

Icasa had put notices in the Government Gazette informing that submissions could be made and that there would be a public hearing, Icasa’s lawyer, Paul Kennedy, said.

The notices should be taken in context with Icasa press releases, the subsequent media coverage, and the fact that the public knew ODM had previously tried to apply for the channels.

“If someone is interested and concerned about what broadcasters broadcast, as indeed these parties are, they could and should keep their ears to the ground.”

Kennedy was defending why Icasa granted three licences to ODM (operating as Top TV and later StarSat) last April, a decision under scrutiny by the court after applications by the Justice Alliance of South Africa, Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life.

Judge Lee Bozalek had asked Kennedy why the Government Gazette notice in December 2012 did not make any mention of what the channels were going to broadcast, namely porn.

“How can that ever be rational? What is the purpose of this notice? It is to bring to the attention of the public that a matter of potential controversy is the subject of this application,” the judge said.

“If Joe Bloggs has very strong views about the broadcasting of adult material, how would he not know this is an application to put National Geographic on a channel?”

Kennedy conceded that the notice without context was not effective but maintained that it was not Icasa’s responsibility to spell everything out.

“It is not for Icasa to point out to the public that you may be interested in this because it raises x or y or z.”

He said the media coverage of the application was important and had “no doubt” generated the over 600 submissions received by organisations and individuals.

Bozalek said adding a sentence to the notice explaining the channels were for porn would not have been much trouble.

He wondered how efficient it had been for members of the public to travel to Icasa’s library in Johannesburg to obtain a physical copy of the full application.

He compared Icasa’s methods to those used in the 1970s, not in the digital era.

“This is a communications authority ironically. It deals with communications,” he remarked.  — Sapa


  1. It does not matter how one pulls out the arguments in support of Porn on National TV, like, “Security features with 2 or more pin codes, opting In our Out, depict sex between couples in a loving relationship and sexually empowered women” Porn is smut it does not matter in what form it comes(Just like alcohol whether it is a beer, wine or Sambuca or Tequila it is still booze). Surfing porn on the mobile phone can be done anonymously but bringing porn into the family living room is a different story. Having a child walking in on the parents watching porn in the living room could be quite awkward. It is quite an invasion of families personal lives, just imagine – “Children you can not be in your own family living room over weekends (especially after a busy week for the whole family,when children are to spend some family time) because mommy and daddy is going to watch porn”. Obviously the children would like to know what is going on and will sneak and peak behind the doors and outside widows to see what why they can not go into their own living room. It just an attempt for media to make more money and not worrying about the social implications it will have on the family. In other countries where these channels are legal, it is know that teenage boys are regular viewers of porn on television. Not all the children are in bed by 20h00; especially over weekends, this is a recipe for an unhealthy situation in the family setup……

  2. I do not see what the case here is. If I am not interested in pornographic material, why do I select it? It would be part of an additional bouquet, I believe. The same as for the previous German bouquet, Indian or Spanish ones available from multichoice. Why would I get an additional subscription if I don’t watch it or a risk of under aged exposure exists in my household ? Availability is key in any business. To supply a service/product is great for everyone, however the decision for purchase is still that of the consumer.

  3. In the arena of the porn debate we see that it is not just a one sided issue. There are many players involved on every side of this porn business (and a dirty one,too). Many arguments which do not see any problem with it are the one’s pointing out the right of the consumer to enjoy (As if this right trumps life itself). It is like the person who smokes, he has a right but those who inhale his secondary smoke gets harmed by it. Many of us who choose a lifestyle that we consider to be my right is not necessarily good for others around me (never mind the possibility of harm to myself).

    Every time we find that when research and personal testimonies are referred to as proof of the harm of something, then individuals come with the argument “It is my right or the right of the next person to choose what they want” Now do not misunderstand me, it is not that i want others rights to be striped from them. We all want to be free…

    But what we many times fail to realize is that we become the very slave of that thing we think we are free to enjoy. (Sorry for using cigarettes again), like many young people who wanted to get out of the house so they could do what they want and not having anybody telling them what to do, they thought smoking is cool – not realizing that some years down the line they will hate themselves for starting and longs everyday to stop smoking.

    According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) in 2011, Porn has been classified as an addiction. http://www.yourbrainonporn.com/asam-definition-of-addiction-long-version-2011

    An individuals right does not make it right. And this is what we are seeing on all the platforms today when social issues are tested and inspected.

    You find men as young as 23 years old with erectile dysfunction, and why, PORN. Speaking to urologists you will find this to be the truth. I will leave it at that…

    Then we are not even looking at those who decide to enter the porn industry, what their experiences are and how that effects them and how high the incidence of drug abuse and suicide and std rates are among them.

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