JIS News

KINGSTON — Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, Professor Hopeton Dunn, says the agency has made several recommendations to the Government regarding revisions to the existing regulations governing the Jamaica's broadcasting industry.

These changes, he explained, are intended to re-define the context of broadcasting to make it more comprehensive and inclusive, while reflecting the changing face of media.

"We would like to see the Act re-formulated into a modern communications Act, in the way that many countries do operate," Dr. Dunn stated at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce's (JCC) monthly meeting on Tuesday (June 21) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

In arguing this point, Professor Dunn said that the Commission has no regulatory authority with regards to the Internet "except in specific circumstances". He pointed out that in other countries there are some aspects of the Internet, which do not go without the attention of the regulatory agencies. These, he informed, include children's access to this medium, as well as criminal activities for which it may be used.   

The Chairman also pointed to a "large and growing range of activities" emerging locally, including the voice over internet, and various social networking facilities, as well as what he described as "citizen media".   
"We see in our own mainstream television services, the emergence of I-reports, of citizens using their mobile phones to capture moments that traditional camera coverage might not be available to do, and when we look at all of these things, we have to see how far, when those begin to reflect themselves in the zone that is part of our regulatory remit, we are going to manage in dealing with them," Professor Dunn contended.

The Broadcasting Commission, a statutory body established by the Broadcasting and Radio Re-Diffusion Amendment Act of 1986, is responsible for monitoring and regulating the electronic media.

Prior to this, the broadcast media were monitored by the Broadcasting Authority, which was created by the Broadcasting and Radio Re-Diffusion Act of 1949. The Authority's functions were incorporated into the Commission.

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter