Pornography has no place on pay-TV in South Africa, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has ruled.
The decision comes following the application by the owners of the Top TV satellite platform, On Digital Media, to launch three sexually explicit subscription-only channels.
Jubie Matlou, spokesman for Icasa, said the regulator weighed up all the submissions and decided that women's right to dignity outweighed TopTV's right to freedom of expression, and the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television.
He added that documentation of the reasons would follow within 30 days.
"The key point revolved around how to balance the right of the applicant, in terms of freedom of expression, with the right of women to human dignity enshrined in the Constitution," he told news agency Sapa.
The Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo welcomed what he called "socially responsible" and "bold decision" that placed the health and welfare of the family above the profit motives of broadcasters.
"The FPI calls on government to urgently amend legislation to prohibit the broadcast of pornographic programmes on South African television," he added.
TopTV applied to launch Playboy Europe, Private Spice and Adult XXX to paying subscribers in July 2011. It had planned to air the channels earlier this January prior to Icasa's decision, but a court interdict prevented the move.
Icasa received 13 written submissions on the application and held public hearings for oral submissions, which ran until 16 January.