Note: Apologies to One Digital Media, mistakenly identified as On Digital Media, for confusion arising from this story. Both companies are referred to as ODM, and in this case, the wrong ODM.
The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed On Digital Media and Icasa’s claims in connection with StarSat being allowed to launch adult content on its platform.
Judge Bozalek dismissed all claims except for section 24A(3) of the Films and Publication Act. Now Icasa has been directed to re-consider their approval to On Digital Media, trading as StarSat, to broadcast the adult channels, effectively re-opening the process.
The case arose from complaints by three conservative groups that challenged Icasa’s decision, and which cited procedural irregularities as the basis for the challenge.
“On Digital Media is currently consulting with its attorneys to discuss the next steps and despite this setback, On Digital Media will continue to strive to ensure that citizens in South Africa have the freedom to view the programmes they wish to, in line with the country’s constitution of freedom of speech and choice,” the company said in a statement.
“On Digital Media fully complies with, and is signatory to the law and the Code of Conduct for Subscription Broadcasting Service Licensees. In launching adult-based content, ODM asserts its and StarSat subscribers’ constitutional right to freedom of expression and choice,” it said.
On Digital Media says its research showed there was majority support and demand for adult channels. It said 71% of respondents agree that “an adult has a right to watch pornography in the privacy of his or her home” and 51% of respondents (of which 60% male; 43% female) are either likely, or highly likely to subscribe to an adult content channel”.
It said by providing subscribers with more choice allows ODM to be a competitor in an environment filled with opportunities.
“ODM would like to re iterate that it has at all times ensured that it meets all the conditions of the licence by offering the adult content channels as a separate and verified subscription package, available only to persons who can confirm they are over the age of 18, broadcasting during the watershed period of 20:00 and 05:00, accessible only with a double-pin process.”
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