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JIS News

Chairman of the Cinematograph Authority (The Authority), Joyce Archibald, has pointed out that legislative reform and capacity building would be the main focus of the organisation in 2009, as it seeks to enhance its ability to regulate Jamaica’s Film Industry, and the exhibition of films to the Jamaican public.
Highlighting the Authority’s main objectives, she told JIS News that, “included among these are the establishment of a formal structure to enable engagement in all areas of the Authority’s responsibilities, to review and propose amendments to the legislation and companion regulations, to ensure relevance and currency, and to increase the Authority’s capacity for fulfilling the intentions of the Act, to effectively regulate the film industry.”
“We also want to develop a functional public relations and education programme, for the Authority to increase public awareness of its identity and mission. It is an imperative that all distributors know that films intended for public exhibition must first have the approval of the Authority,” the Chairman added.
With respect to legislative reform, she is urging all industry stakeholders to participate in upcoming consultations.
“The whole matter of legislative reform is meant to be highly participatory and so I would use this opportunity to alert all our stakeholders that their involvement in upcoming consultations will be critical to the process,” she said.
The Authority came into being through the Cinematograph Act of 1913, which gave effect to the establishment of a Board, essentially for the purpose of regulating the exhibition of films to the Jamaican public.
Mrs. Archibald noted that the Act further seeks to empower the Authority to preview films that are to be shown to the public, to ensure that they do not contain elements that would be offensive or that could cause harm to societal norms, values and morals.
“The Authority recognises the serious responsibility it has in influencing development of acceptable social norms and morals, values and attitudes and therefore, it contemplates, as a matter of urgency, the need for regulation to limit or prevent harm and or occasion offence,” she explained, adding that they are looking at the strategies and practices used in other countries.
“It is in light of these considerations, as well as the multiplicity of technology for distribution, that the Authority has undertaken that task of looking at these technologies, with a view to providing recommendations to the policy directorate for arriving at workable and appropriate regulatory standards. To this end, the Authority is looking at relevant practices in other jurisdictions, with a view to addressing existing gaps,” the Chairman said.
In addition to the regulation of films, the Authority oversees the inspection of facilities, to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to ensure the safety of patrons, prevent fires and other accidents, and that there is general compliance with health standards.