Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dominica holds national consultation on Broadcasting Authority Bill

By Sean Douglas

The consultative process on the Broadcasting Authority Bill entered an important phase on Wednesday with a one-day consultation at the Fort Young Hotel in Roseau, Dominica. The consultation was organized by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish a Broadcasting Authority to license and set standards for radio and television broadcasting and interrelated matters.

The consultation provided individuals, groups and corporations within the broadcasting industry in Dominica the opportunity to discuss and analyse in detail the draft Broadcasting Authority Bill.

Their ideas and suggestions on the proposed bill is expected to be considered going forward.

The consultation was attended by Government officials, representatives from radio and television stations, the Media Workers Association of Dominica (MWAD), Newspaper managers and editors, officials from advertising agencies, composers, musicians, members of the Writer’s Guild, civil society organisations and Freelance Journalists.

Minister for Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information, Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts delivered an address at the consultation. She denied that there was a conspiracy by her government to take away the rights of journalists.

The proposed Broadcasting Authority Bill is a harmonised piece of OECS legislation, another example of the cooperation among OECS Member States on a variety of issues across a wide range of sectors.

The broadcasting industry in the OECS Member States is in a state of legislative flux yet it is highly competitive.

It is proposed that what is required is a systematic approach to ensure the regulation of broadcasting through legislation with clear policies specifically aimed towards strengthening the development of the society and which provides for the licensing of broadcasting, the setting of broadcasting standards, fair competition, accountability and transparency.
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