Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Thanks for partnering with Broadcasting Commission

Published:Saturday | October 15, 2016 | 10:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Dear Licensees and Partners:

As you may know, we are approaching the end of the current five-year term of the board of commissioners of the Broadcasting Commission. The tenure of the board will come to an end on October 31, 2016.

As chairman, I would like to express, in advance, my profound thanks to all our licensees, subcommittee members, sister regulators, and other associated entities for the support that you have given to the commission over the years.

In my case, it is the end of two five-year terms as chairman, and an additional eight years as a member of the board, for a total of 18 years in the service of the commission. For other commissioners, the time frames vary, but with no less commitment to the duties of office.

These years have been both instructive and productive for me personally. Working with other commissioners past and present and with you our licensees and partners, I have been able to lead a process of substantial reform in a range of areas, including in the rigorous enforcement of content standards and on-air broadcast quality.

We have introduced key reforms in the cable sector, moving from the days of an early and small group of unregulated operators to today's large and more orderly subsector. We have also expanded the broadcast subsector and created a modern and more diverse and competitive electronic media environment in Jamaica.

The commission has formulated and recommended several new policy initiatives that await approval and implementation. These include key proposals on digital switchover, reform of the sanctions regime, redefinition of the term broadcasting, as well as additional measures for protection of children and other vulnerable groups.

We have devised a proposal to promote more funded independent programme production in Jamaica and plans for new legislative and technological reforms of the sector. Among these reforms are proposals for regulatory convergence through the implementation of a true single regulator for the industry.

We have visited our licensees periodically at your bases for informal discussions and successfully established a public campaign to promote education and media literacy.

This has been through a vibrant series of media advertisements, school visits, public speeches, conferences, and online output, working in association with broadcasters, cable operators, teachers, citizen media monitors, and service providers. Our work together has attracted the attention of our Caribbean and global counterparts, who have frequently called on the BCJ for inputs and advice in their own regulatory environments.

RECENT TRANSFORMATION

Internally, we have transformed the financial standing and operational stability of the commission and have established an unblemished record for statutory payments and timely submission of annual reports to Government.

We are also pleased that in 2015, the BCJ was able to acquire a new headquarters building that is currently being renovated for occupancy by year-end, when the commission staff will relocate from our current rented premises in New Kingston.

We have been able to achieve these and many other outcomes through the active cooperation and support of our licensees, portfolio ministers, members of the public, and successive governments.

On behalf of the outgoing commissioners, I again express deep appreciation to all for the opportunity of service and for your cooperation over the years, even in difficult times. While we are proud of the achievements, we are fully aware that a great deal remains to be done, led by a successor commission. I pledge continued policy engagement with the sector as a whole.

HOPETON DUNN (Prof)

Chairman, BCJ