The Broadcasting Commission has taken another major step in its youth initiative programme by including, for the first time, students on its Monitoring and Compliance Committee.
The students, 22 year-old Ruth-Ann Lawrence and 18 year-old Sophia Bryan, will join three specialist Commissioners on the committee, which has responsibility for receiving, documenting and evaluating complaints with a view to ruling on whether or not a licencee is in breach of its licence.
According to Executive Director of the Commission, Cordel Green, the move reflects the importance that the Commission attaches to the youth voice and is consistent with good governance.
Executive Director of the Broadcasting Commission, Cordel Green welcomes 22 year-old UWI student, Ruth-Ann Lawrence to the Monitoring and Compliance Committee, at a recent Commissioners’ meeting, held at the Commission’s New Kingston office.
“The Commission has always sought to engage with young people, particularly in its process of consultations. But we are of the view that we need to deepen that engagement and so we are now raising the bar in a sense and moving to the adjudicative level, through its monitoring and compliance committee with the involvement of youth,” he explained.
The move, he said, was not a symbolic but a substantive one, as the students would be expected to make a significant contribution and enhance the work of the committee.
“They will be involved in the evaluation of content and the application of the regulations that apply to broadcasting, in an advisory capacity. It is the Commission which will ultimately take decisions on whether broadcasters are in compliance with the regulations, but we will be advised by our new youth members,” Mr. Green said.
Meanwhile, third year University of the West Indies student, Ruth-Ann Lawrence, who is also a Youth Parliamentarian and a member of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Youth Advisory Board, said she was excited about her appointment and was looking forward to her first committee meeting in July.
“I’m happy to be a part of the committee and will work to the best of my ability to see what I can do as it pertains to our youth,” she told JIS News.
In recent times, the Commission has developed a series of monthly features for the Children’s Own, Youth Link (Gleaner) and Teenage (Jamaica Observer) publications.
The features, the ‘Young Commissioners’, which appear in the Children’s Own, and the ‘BC 2.0’, which will debut in the Youth Link and Teenage on
June 29, are expected to inform the youth cohort about the Commission’s mandate, so that they can assist with the monitoring of the airwaves and, more importantly, influence the work of the Commission.