Fears over Indecency broadcast in Nigeria as Star Times acquires
LAGOS — There are fears that broadcast of Indecency on pay TV channels may become real in Nigeria, following acquisition of majority equity in On Digital Media, operating as TopTV by Star Times.
On Digital Media (operating as TopTV) was recently licensed to broadcast three adult content channels—Playboy TV, Desire TV, and Private Spice in South Africa.
Earlier this month, shareholders of On Digital Media, ODM, voted to accept the business rescue plan offered by Chinese company, Star Times. ODM has been distressed and in business rescue since last October.
The development has raised palpable fears that the Chinese pay TV operator may include the Top TV Indecency channels in its Nigerian bouquet offerings.
But spokesman of StarTimes Nigeria, Ayokunle Idowu, in a telephone conversation said his company had no such plans.
“We have no such plans. Apart from that, I’m sure the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, will not approve such,” he said.
But aggressive marketing of its T-1 decoders at N3,000 fuel fears that addition of the hard core channels will drive up subscription.
However, the bail-out of ODM by StarTimes has been tarnished by massive public outcry, notably from South African religious bodies, which find Top TV association with Indecency abhorrent.
Late last month, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, ICASA, gave TopTV the approval to air three pornographic channels. The channels Playboy TV, Desire TV, and Private Spice.
ICASA claimed it gave the approval following extensive public consultation process it undertook prior to granting the application by ODM.
“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 Indecency is expressly prohibited by law,” added ICASA.
The authorisation limits the broadcast of the adult content from 8pm to 5am.
The approval for the X-rated channels also sparked the anger of the South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council, MJC, which described it as “inconsistent”. Nabeweya Mallick, spokesperson for the MJC, said the council was “disappointed,” at ICASA’s insensitivity to the rights of tastes of religious and race groups and cultures.
She said: “We feel they have really failed the standards set by ICASA. If one is sensitive to the rights of these groups… what about the rights of women?” she questioned. The justification for allowing this to take place was “inadequate”, as TopTV stated that the only complaints and submission they received were on moral grounds.“
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