High Court judges back ban on porn channel: Red Hot Television seeks appeal against ruling

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The Independent Online
TWO HIGH COURT judges yesterday upheld a government ban on Red Hot Television, a pornographic satellite channel that is broadcast from Denmark.

Lord Justice Leggatt, sitting with Mr Justice McCullough, ruled that the European Court of Justice should now be asked to decide whether Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, had acted lawfully when he ordered a ban on the sale of the decoders needed to receive the hard-core programmes beamed from Denmark.

The ban is due to come into force on 1 May, but the owners of Red Hot Television intend to appeal against yesterday's decision, and hope for a hearing next week.

The Government claims it is entitled to intervene under an EC directive that allows it to impose restrictions on 're-transmissions' of broadcasts. But David Pannick QC, for Red Hot Television, argued that there was no re-transmission of the satellite channel's programmes, even though they went through decoders. They were simply 'received' in the United Kingdom through the decoders. Only Denmark could ban the programmes he said.

Under the EC directive, the Government can ban programmes that might 'seriously impair the moral development' of children. Mr Pannick argued that the programmes were shown after midnight, so would not be seen by children.

Stephen Richards, for the Government, said it was the intention of the European Commission that the word 're-transmission' should include satellite broadcasting. It would be inconsistent, he said, for the directive to be taken to exclude satellite from its controls, when all other forms of broadcasting were covered.

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