November 13th, 2010 - 17:49 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
Jamaica radio and television staff who support payola could find themselves in prison if government accepts a proposal from the Broadcasting Commission to have the practice criminalised. The commission’s chairman, Dr Hopeton Dunn, told a press conference on Wednesday that it would be recommending that payola be seen as a criminal offence under new regulatory amendments now before the Cabinet.
“It is widely known that the Broadcasting Commission has taken a very strong stand, and has encouraged the broadcasting companies on taking an equally strong stand against the corrupt practice of payola,” Dr Dunn told reporters at the press conference at the commission’s office in Kingston. “The reflection of that strong stand, I believe, should be in the form of making it some kind of criminal offence. The main point we want to make here, is that it should not be tolerated and it should be severely sanctioned, up to and including a criminal offence, as well as financial sanctions,” he said.
This is one of several recommendations in a Media Policy Report compiled by a Canadian research company, drafted to assist the commission in updating and modernising Jamaica’s Electronic Media Policy. The new regulations also cover provisions protecting the wellbeing of children and other persons who are victims of, or witnesses to, crimes.
The Media Policy Report suggests development of a framework to foster the production and exhibition of high quality public service programming available to all Jamaicans. The Fund would also be supported by a percentage of proceeds from substituted advertising by cable operators, and an amount from the annual licensing fees collected by the commission.
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