The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has given financially distressed pay-television firm TopTV permission to broadcast three adult channels, signalling a reversal of last year’s decision to block the channels.
TopTV may now broadcast Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice between the hours of 8pm and 5am.
The regulator held a public consultation on whether or not the company would be able to broadcast the channels in March
In a statement, ICASA said: “The Authority upholds the view that there is no law of general application prohibiting the production and distribution of adult content in the Republic. Only the production and distribution of child pornography is expressly prohibited by law.”
The decision sees ICASA perform a U-turn, having in March 2012 blocked TopTV’s application to broadcast the channels on the basis of that the “right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV’s right to freedom of expression”.
This time, however, the regulator found that the proposed channels broke no laws, and rather all objections were moral rather than legal.
“The Authority has also considered all submissions made in respect of this application from all interested stakeholders and it was found that most of the representations made were based on moral grounds; rather than a research evidence to demonstrate some of the conclusive remarks linking pornography and gender-based violence,” ICASA said.
“It is the Authority’s view that indeed there is no basis or law for the rejection of Top TV’s application.”
TopTV’s application had been vocally opposed by a variety of groups, including Muslims, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), Christians and a rape survivor, with boycotts threatened. The firm, which is in Business Rescue, is rumoured to be in the process of being bought out by Chinese pay-television operator StarTimes.