KINGSTON – Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ), Professor Hopeton Dunn has said that problems, such as payola and piracy that are facing the broadcasting industry, can be solved through the collaborative efforts of key players in the sector.
Professor Dunn made the comment while addressing representatives from the music and broadcasting sectors at a ‘Payola and Anti-Piracy’ seminar, held on March 22, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.
“We can do this together and we can do it without an extraordinary long and tortuous route in the process,” he said, adding that the matter could be solved “using the benefit of our experience as well as experiences gathered from friends in other jurisdictions who have tackled similar problems overseas."
Touching on the issue of payola, Professor Dunn said that the BCJ has recommended, under new regulatory amendments now before the Cabinet, stiffer penalties for persons who are involved in this practice.
“We are already in the process of preparing to make recommendations to government, because we feel that this act of payola is a criminal kind of practice which should be treated as such,” he said.
Mr. Dunn said that because the matter has not been seriously addressed, it had “become the norm that this is the way to go,” while acknowledging the fact that a large percentage of media practitioners in the music industry are honest and professional persons.
Meanwhile, Professor Dunn said that the BCJ has been holding a series of consultations islandwide to promote better quality and improved standards on the airwaves.
“It is something that we will sustain and we express our appreciation for the support that we have got in that process from many people in Jamaica and overseas,” he said.
The Professor said the main reason for the consultations is to hear the views of Jamaicans and stakeholders about what the BCJ should be doing and what the broadcasting landscape should look like. He said the consultations have assisted the BCJ in making correct judgements with regard to the reform of the broadcasting sector.
By E. HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS PR Officer