The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ) wrapped up its sensitisation and awareness meetings in western Jamaica on Wednesday, March 20, with a successful session at Godfrey Stewart High School in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland.
More than 150 students took a break from the annual sports day activities to participate in the interactive one-hour session, where they were addressed by Executive Director of the BCJ, Cordel Green.
Some of the topics discussed were: ‘Digital Switchover’; ‘Children’s Code for Programming’; ‘Managing Your Digital Self’; and ‘Traditional and New Media’.
Speaking to JIS News after the meeting, Mr. Green said the three-school tour, held as part of the Commission’s media literacy programme, was an “overwhelming success”.
He said the media literary programme is ongoing and the Commission will be seeking to reach more schools in western Jamaica under other phases.
He said that discussions have already commenced for early follow-up sessions at Godfrey Stewart High.
“They want us to go beyond their students and to engage with the parents as well. This will never stop because media literacy is an on-going exercise which is transformational,” Mr. Green said.
Mr. Green in his presentation to the students, said the Commission is placing focus on the regulation of the electronic media, in light of the changing broadcasting landscape.
“We are talking about the revamping of that legislative framework and revisiting the meaning of broadcasting, which is now taking in other platforms. We are not thinking about whether to regulate Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), rather the issue is whether the same regulatory approach to free-to-air television and cable would be extended to IPTV,” he stated.
He said the large electronic billboards, which are “large programmable television screens” are also up for examination in the new electronic media policy, “which is on its way to the Cabinet, with a view to effecting changes sooner rather than later.”
Grade seven teacher, Jody-Gaye Cummings, told JIS News that she was “very happy” for the Commission’s intervention.
“The students needed it, because it will allow them to become more conscious of the social media, of the television, of the airwaves and the work that goes into protecting them as students so that they are not exposed to certain things that may damage their character and their psyche,” she stated.
“They are now also more cognisant of the pros and cons of social media, which will influence their actions and better allow them to use these tools to their benefit rather than to their detriment,” Ms. Cummings told JIS News.
The other schools visited were the St. James High School on March 6; and Barracks Road Primary in Montego Bay on March 7.
The BCJ’s media literacy programme seeks to educate students about the pending change from analogue to digital broadcasting, called the “digital switchover” and challenges in the new media landscape.
More than 20 educational institutions and 3,400 students have been engaged over the past two years.
By Glenis A. Rose, JIS Reporter