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Porn judgement expected in coming months

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There has been strong opposition to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) decision to allow the broadcasting of three pornographic channels on satellite broadcaster StarSat. The Western Cape High Court heard an application from three local NGO’s last week, who were seeking to have Icasa’s decision overruled.

The case was brought forth by the Justice Alliance of SA (Jasa), Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life and was directed at Icasa and On Digital Media (ODM), the parent company of StarSat.

Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, Jasa CEO John Smythe, said the presiding judge appeared to be open-minded and sympathetic towards their case. However, he admitted the judge was troubled by a certain statute that related to Icasa’s responsibilities towards the public.

He expected a judgement on the application to come within the coming months, expressing hope that a ruling would be announced before the end of the year at the latest.

“He’s got a big task to do in sorting it all out and writing his judgement. We may not get that judgement for a matter of months,” he noted.

During the case, research was brought forward to highlight the direct relation between pornography and an increase in abuse. However, Smythe admitted that such research was not entirely conclusive.

“What I do think is beyond doubt and we pressed this on the judge, is that if somebody habitually watches pornography, his brain will become rewired. He will become dependent on it for sexual arousal, and he will no longer be able to have normal sexual relations.” he explained.

Jasa have been locked in an ongoing battle with government in recent years, in an attempt to block access to pornography via the internet. With that in mind, Smythe said it was a matter of sense that bringing porn into people’s homes via television, was a step to far.

“If an adult wants to watch pornography, it is impossible for children not to be affected by it, or at least be aware of what is going on,” he said.

He urged the public to get involved in the matter, by writing letters to members of parliament, or any high ranking government officials. He also welcomed any form of petition from the community.

“It would be wonderful if groups of people, different religious and social groups, could get together and send in petitions,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)


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