JIS News

KINGSTON — Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, Professor Hopeton Dunn, says there have been improvements in the quality of output aired on radio and television, since the agency’s introduction of three landmark directives in 2009.

Speaking at the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) monthly meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Tuesday June 21, Professor Dunn explained that the directives placed a ban on the broadcasting of songs with lyrics openly promoting violent sexual activity; prohibited songs containing editing features, which suggest that portions of the recording have inappropriate lyrics promoting murder, acts of violence and glorification of the gun; while there was regulatory action to prohibit vulgar and scandalous on-air programming.

Additionally, the Chairman said a Notice of Breach was issued on one entity in March this year, instructing the operators to discontinue a particular programme deemed inappropriate.

He noted that the Commission continues to encounter challenges with some entities and persons intent on breaching the codes and regulations governing the industry. However, Professor Dunn said, since the introduction of the directives, some stakeholders have demonstrated an “increasing tendency to operate within that framework”, through improvements in the quality of their outputs. 

“There are people, musicians included, who have abandoned the more extreme and vulgar content, which they sought to get on air, and are now much more creative, much more thoughtful about the kind of content they put out. We hear artistes now, more than ever before, talking about family issues, about parenting, about the love of their mothers, about life within community context… love, romantic themes, and so on,” he informed.

Professor Dunn assured that the Commission remained committed to implementing the regulations governing Jamaica’s broadcast media industry, “within the powers granted to us by the public and Government of Jamaica”, to ensure that all material broadcast on radio and television are appropriate for airplay.

“We have a public responsibility that we must carry forward, and this Commission has shown that it is not unwilling to implement the regulations that we are equipped with, even as we are making recommendations to government to modernise and update these regulations. We feel that the media ought to have the freedom to operate to provide the country and the public with information, education and entertainment, but that they must do so within the framework of responsibility,” he stated.

While assuring that the Commission is not trying to “cramp anybody’s style”, Professor Dunn stressed that there are creative ways in which artistic and other expressions can be done.

“We see some of that beginning to happen, and we want to respect the creative freedoms as well as the freedom of the press to report what is happening in a way that is effective,” he added.