Broadcasting Commission Exec Says That Radio Gatekeepers Should Be Embarrassed

Cordel Green | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International AffairsStating that “a systemic failure has occurred”, executive director of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ), Cordell Green, is of the opinion that the gatekeepers for radio and television should be embarrassed that the regulatory body has had to issue an immediate ban on scamming, Molly and gun music.

“I believe that it is actually embarrassing that the Broadcasting Commission has had to step in to deal with something as obviously harmful and antithetical to the tenets of responsible broadcasting as content glorifying Lotto scamming and pill-popping and other forms of criminality,” Green told The Gleaner.

He added, “I don’t believe regulators should have to step in where those things are concerned. It is a systemic failure that has occurred. And just as if there were a financial systemic failure in the banking sector, you expect the banking regulator to step in and deal with it. That is what is happening here. A pendulum has swung too far away from the centre, and it needs to be rebalanced. That is what a regulator does, and we are doing it unapologetically.”

Cable Operators Forced to go Rogue - Nationwide 90FMOn Tuesday, the BCJ issued a release banning from the airwaves “any audio or video recording, live song, or speech which promotes and/or glorifies scamming, illegal use or abuse of drugs (e.g. ‘Molly’), illegal or harmful use of guns or other offensive weapons, ‘jungle justice’ or any other form of illegal or criminal activity”.

It also imposed a ban on “any edited song which directly or indirectly promotes scamming, illegal drugs, illegal or harmful use of guns or other offensive weapons, jungle justice, or any form of illegal or criminal activity. This includes live editing and original edits (e.g. edits by producer/label as well as the use of near-sounding words as substitutes for offensive lyrics, expletives, or profanities”.

Broadcasting Commission sees improvements | Entertainment | Jamaica GleanerFrom 2016, the airwaves started being deluged with “scamma songs”, notable among them was Xclusive’s Big Money Popping with the hugely popular refrain “Scamma dem deh yah”, which seemed to open a floodgate for songs of this nature.

Reacting to suggestions that the BCJ has stepped in “too late”, Green readily dismissed it.

“We deliberate; we consider, we consult where necessary, and we examine, and we take decisions about what is the appropriate course of action because sometimes when regulators intervene, their actions can have the unintended consequence [of] giving a lot of promotion and attention to the very content that really should not be getting the attention. I don’t believe we have acted too late.”

He reiterated that the gatekeepers have been derelict in their duty.

Skillibeng racks up over 1mil views in just 7days for “Crocodile Teeth” –  YARDHYPE“Quite frankly, the first responsibility is that of the gatekeepers. Regulators must not overreach. We do not run radio and television stations. They are to hire professional people, and they are to run the station according to their licensing obligations,” Green outlined.

He noted that while some pushback was expected, “largely, we don’t get pushback when these things are done one-to-one with the broadcasting stations”. However, once it reaches the public domain, such as when intervention is done for scamming songs, “then generally we get people, including some in the entertainment industry who do not understand the broadcasting framework who then see this as an attack on them.

“You have people who start talking about freedom of expression, and with the greatest respect, that is another nonsensical argument. The Broadcasting Commission has been regulating the broadcasting landscape in Jamaica for decades, and Jamaica is ranked in the top-10 countries in the world … ranked ahead of [the] United States of America and ahead of many older countries … for freedom of expression. In fact, it is one of the global distinctions where Jamaica is concerned, and that is not unrelated to the very objective, proportional, considered approach we take to regulation. We do not enter upon these types of references lightly.”

Skillibeng throw away some money Performance LIVE AT HOT SPOT SUNDAY -  YouTubeRegarding the enforcement of the regulations, Green shared that the BCJ will continue to monitor the stations and receive complaints from members of the public and take whatever the appropriate regulatory responses.

“In the ordinary course of business, that is what we do every day, every week, every month. We take each case on its own particular set of facts. So, I can’t prescribe or make any predictions about what actions will be taken in any particular case. If there are infringements, they will be investigated, and they will be adjudicated on, and whatever sanctions exist within the powers of the BCJ – and those sanctions include at the highest level the recommendation of the revocation of licence – all of those will be considered.”

Source: Radio, television gatekeepers should be embarrassed – Broadcasting Commission exec | Entertainment | Jamaica Gleaner

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