Public Consultation: Code of Practice for Regulation of Content Services

URCA today published its Public Consultation document on the Code of Practice for the Regulation of Content Services and Audiovisual Media Services under sections 52 and 53 respectively of the Communications Act 2009.

The principal purpose of the draft Code of Practice is to regulate the types of content that can be broadcast in The Bahamas on television stations, radio stations, teletext services, and cable television networks providing local and overseas channels.

In some cases, absolute prohibitions apply to the broadcasting of certain types of content. In other cases, exceptions to the rules are allowed provided that the content is broadcast during times of the day when children would not be expected to be watching or the programming has an educational, satiric, comedic or other purpose that justifies the exception to the rules. In many cases, the broadcaster is expected to provide written and/or verbal advisories and warnings that the programming contains material of a sexual, violent or controversial nature, as well as programme classifications indicating the suitability of the programme for children and other audiences. In other cases, filtering technology must be provided to allow parents the option to decide what they and other members of their households might watch.

The draft Code of Practice represents the combined work of URCA and an Industry Working Group convened under section 55 of the Communications Act. URCA and the Working Group began work on the draft Code of Practice on 29 June 2010 until 17 February 2011. During this period, the Working Group reviewed various Codes from countries around the world – including major global territories, other members of the Commonwealth and other Caribbean countries. This enabled its members to determine what issues needed to be addressed in the draft Bahamian Code and to review international best practice in each area. The Working Group then reconvened and met from 23 June 2011 to 18 August 2011 to review the draft Code prepared by URCA to ensure the applicability to each section of the broadcasting industry, along with proposed mechanisms for monitoring compliance with such Code.

The Public Consultation is open until 30 December 2011.

Copies of the Public Consultation document on the draft Code of Practice for the Regulation of Content Services and Audiovisual Media Services can be downloaded in the Publications section of the website under “Broadcasting”.