KINGSTON — The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) is proposing new laws to control journalists interviewing children and other persons who are victims of trauma and witnesses to crimes.
Executive Director of the Commission, Cordell Green, made the remark while speaking at the St. Catherine Stakeholders’ meeting, recently, at the Social Development Commission (SDC) conference room in Spanish Town.
The meeting formed part of a series of islandwide sessions organised by the BCJ, to update the public on developments, including broadcast content standards, digital television switchover and upcoming legislative changes for the broadcast industry.
Mr. Green said that legislative reform was required to clearly define how victims of trauma and witnesses to crime are treated by the media.
“We have to find a way to preserve the humanity of children as they go through moments of grieving, and we have seen cases where we think the line has been crossed: It is very clear that this is not the right moment for an interview,” he said.
Giving an example of a horrific car crash, involving relatives of a child who is being pulled away by a reporter to be interviewed, Mr. Green asked, “is this the time to go and ask her, so how do you feel about all this?”
“It is bordering on exploitation, a very difficult issue but we cannot run away from it,” he commented.
The Executive Director said the BCJ has also recommended stronger and more effective laws, to stop the corrupt practice of persons accepting gifts from artistes and record producers to play their music on radio.
Recommendations have also been made for the strengthening of the commission’s enforcement powers, in particular to enable stronger and more effective sanctions to be applied in instances of violation. This includes the introduction of financial sanctions.
The establishment of a Public Broadcasting Production Fund is also part of the Commission’s submission to Government.
By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS Information Officer