TopTV has confirmed that it has lodged an application to broadcast three adult content channels on its pay-TV platform, and that the application was made to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in October 2012.
“There have been many inferences made in the media that TopTV has made this application in a last-ditch effort to save the organisation, which was voluntarily placed in a business rescue process by the board towards the end of 2012,” says CEO Eddie Mbalo. “Nothing can be further from the truth.”
Mbala said TopTV needs a capital injection from a strategic equity partner, and that it would be “naïve and malicious to conclude that the granting of permission to broadcast [adult content] channels would be sufficient to save a company that requires a capital injection”.
He said the current application to Icasa differs to the first one TopTV submitted to the broadcasting regulator, and takes into consideration the various submissions, viewpoints and comments made previously.
“We acknowledge that TopTV’s failure to participate in the previous hearings denied us the opportunity to state our viewpoint clearly and to set with record straight with regards to how the channels would be broadcast and the necessary protective mechanisms that have been put in place,” he said.
Mbalo said while TopTV was willing to listen to differing points of view, it equally expected everyone to “respect the democratic rights of all South Africans, including those consumers who have expressed an interest in subscribing to such an offering”.
South Africa’s Constitution guarantees all citizens their democratic right to read, view and consume material of their choice in the privacy of their own space, so long as that consumption is not in any way in contravention of the law.
“We believe that South Africans are mature enough to take personal responsibility for their television viewing habits,” he said. “We believe people are capable of choosing for themselves what they would like to view in the privacy of their homes, and that the vast majority of South Africans either welcome the prospect of adult television, or acknowledge the right of others to watch adult TV, even if they themselves are not particularly interested in this content.”