Broadcasting Commission says payola should be criminal offence


The Broadcasting Commission says it will be recommending that radio and television staff involved in the practice of payola should be arrested and charged on a criminal offence.
The Commission’s chairman, Dr. Hopeton Dunn, told a press conference at their New Kingston head office on Wednesday (November 10), it is recommending, under new regulatory amendments now before the Cabinet, that payola be seen as a criminal offence.
“It is widely known that the Broadcasting Commission has taken a very strong stand, and has encouraged the broadcasting companies on taking an equally strong stand against the corrupt practice of payola,” he said.
“The reflection of that strong stand, I believe, should be in the form of making it some kind of criminal offence. The main point we want to make here, is that it should not be tolerated and it should be severely sanctioned, up to and including a criminal offence, as well as financial sanctions,” he stated.
This is one of several recommendations in a Media Policy Report compiled by a Canadian research company, drafted to assist the Commission in updating and modernising Jamaica’s Electronic Media Policy.
The new regulations also cover provisions protecting the well-being of children, and other persons who are victims of, or witnesses to, crimes.
“One of the things we come across, from time to time, is media houses, maybe in ignorance, exposing under aged children to the glare of media publicity in times of crisis,” Dr. Dunn remarked.
The new regulations would respond to the harm and the damage to the wellbeing of the child in respect of those kinds of practices.
Dr. Dunn said the Commission was also “concerned about the practice of “intentionally” disclosing information capable of identify children who are survivors, or witnesses to criminal activities, and children who are witnesses to traumatic events being interviewed, without the expressed permission of the parents.
Meanwhile, the Chairman said a percentage of the revenue collected through these sanctions would go towards the development of a local Content Production Fund, which would help to support the protection and promotion of Jamaica’s indigenous programmes.
He said the Media Policy Report suggested development of a framework to foster the production and exhibition of high quality public service programming available to all Jamaicans.
The Fund would also be supported by a percentage of proceeds from substituted advertising by cable operators, and an amount from the annual license fees collected by the Commission.

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