The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority, (URCA) of The Bahamas on Friday released the following statement aimed at broadcasters and persons who deliver audiovisual media services in The Bahamas:
The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority, (URCA) reminds all broadcasters and persons who deliver audiovisual media services in The Bahamas, to ensure that they and their employees, agents and other persons involved in the delivery of audiovisual media services comply with the relevant provisions of the Code of Practice for Content Regulation (ECS 06/2012) (the Code). The Code, issued by URCA on March 2nd 2012, sets standards for content delivered via audiovisual media services in The Bahamas. All radio and television broadcasters in The Bahamas are required to comply with the provisions of the Code.
Through its broadcast content monitoring, URCA notes an increase in the broadcasting of content which may breach the provisions of the Code. Broadcasters and the general public should note in particular, section 3.1, and Part 4 of the Code which relate to “Standards of Taste and Decency” and “Harm and Offence” and which alia: “…prohibits the broadcast of content which would be considered by the general public in The Bahamas to be harmful, abusive, offensive, discriminatory or otherwise contrary to the standards of taste and decency which generally obtain in Bahamian society. The Code also prohibits the broadcast of information about any person or undertaking or any event which is incorrect, untrue or misleading and which the content provider knew, ought to have known, or would have discovered through reasonable investigation, to be incorrect, untrue or misleading. As a result of this observed trend, URCA will increase its monitoring of content being broadcast via FM radio in The Bahamas.
Members of the public who may hear or view content on radio or television in The Bahamas which they consider to be in breach of the Code are encouraged to submit a written complaint in accordance with the provisions of the Code. Details on how to make a complaint under the Code can be found on the URCA’s website at http://www.urcabahamas.bs/consumer-complaints.php.
URCA will also, in collaboration with the industry, conduct a review of the Content code to determine whether or not the current complaint handling process is sufficient to ensure compliance with the principles and standards contained in the Code.
Providers of audiovisual media services in The Bahamas found in breach of the Code, are liable to sanctions in accordance with the Communications Act 2009 which may include: a) financial penalty, which may be up to 10% of the content provider’s relevant turnover; b) suspension of the content provider’s Licence; and/or c) revocation of the content provider’s Licence The Code is available on URCA’s website at www.urcabahamas.bs.