BCJ directs broadcasters to ban airing of recorded material that promotes or glorifies illegal activity

The Broadcasting Commission has directed broadcasters to ban immediately, the airing of any recorded material that promotes or glorifies illegal activity.

The Commission in a statement says under the powers granted by the Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulations, it requires radio and television stations to stop transmitting any audio or video recording, live song, or speech which promotes and or glorifies scamming, illegal use or abuse of drugs such as ‘molly’, illegal or harmful use of guns or other offensive weapons, “jungle justice” or any other form of illegal or criminal activity.

Broadcasters should also not air any edited song which directly or indirectly promotes any form of illegal or criminal activity.

This includes live editing and original edits, as well as the use of near-sounding words as substitutes for offensive lyrics, expletives, or profanities.

The Commission says the directive reinforces the commission’s commitment to keeping the airwaves free of harmful content given the important role traditional media still play as agents of socialisation.

It adds that the use of the public airwaves to broadcast songs that promote or glorify illegal activity could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society.

According to the Commission, it could also unwittingly lend support to moral disengagement and further normalise criminality among vulnerable and impressionable youth, and the young adult demographic.

Commenting on the directive, Executive Director of the Commission, Cordel Green, said it was the end product of a wide-ranging process that included focused monitoring, decoding of subculture dialect and urban slangs, deliberations on balancing free expression vis-à-vis protection from harm, and consultations with industry.

Mr. Green explained that this approach was necessary given the nuances and peculiarities inherent in content regulation.

The Executive Director also said that while content regulation must always have regard for the right to freedom of expression, any context in which criminality is presented through music or videos as normal behaviour, conflicts with the tenets of responsible broadcasting.

The Broadcasting Commission says licensees are reminded that in determining suitability for broadcast, they must consider the overall theme/message of the content and not only specific and individual words.


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