JIS News

It is projected that during this financial year, the global standard and the timeframe within which Jamaica’s analogue systems are to be switched to digital will be finalised, said Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz.
Making his contribution to the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate today (July 27) in the House of Representatives, the Minister informed that efforts in this regard are well advanced.
The digital switchover is being managed by the Broadcasting Commission, which has set up a steering committee to plan the way forward.
Lauding the work of the Commission, Minister Vaz said that the agency made certain interventions last February that have significantly and palpably changed the face of the broadcasting industry in Jamaica. This comprised the banning of radio and television stations from airing songs with content deemed explicitly sexual and violent, even if concealed by bleeps.
“Through vigilance, there has been a significant paradigm shift in the name of public morality with broad support from members of the public and to their credit, the music and broadcasting industries. This is a stellar example of state intervention and initiative for protection of the public good. And, it’s a work the Broadcasting Commission continues. You would not have missed – no one can miss – the frequent ads under the theme ‘With Choice Comes Responsibility’,” he said.
Turning to imperatives for the current fiscal year, he informed that the agency has advanced work, which will inform recommendations relative to the development of an electronic media policy.
He said it will also be necessary for the Commission to be enabled to operate with the additional regulatory amendments that have been placed on the table following wide consultations, which began in 2008.
These include new regulations to combat payola, strengthen the protection of children and victims of trauma, increase the time allowed for advertising during special periods, regulation of Independent Programme Providers, establishment of a fund to support the production of local content, and introduction of financial sanctions.
Turning to the regional conference on broadcasting regulation and policy, which the Broadcasting Commission hosted earlier this month, Minister Vaz said that the event was a success, and allowed for the sharing of important perspectives, including a range of media policy issues that are under consideration.
These policy issues, he said, encompass examination of traditional broadcast media, non broadcast media including satellite radio and television, and new media platforms such as IP TV and Mobile TV.
The Minister said that the work of the Broadcasting Commission has had a far-reaching effect on the society and has influenced developments at all levels of the society, particularly at the grassroots level.
“This agency positively impacts all strata of society and has made tangible and measureable improvements in this society’s values and attitudes,” he added.

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