Communications regulator hosts consultative meeting on the Broadcasting code
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) recently hosted a public consultative meeting on the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Service licensees.
The consultative meeting was attended by various stakeholders, broadcasting licensees, the Editors Forum of Namibia and members of the media.
“The purpose of the Code is to ensure the independent regulation of broadcasting services, access to broadcasting services, and broadcasting content that is in favour of the public. The provisions of the Code are intended to achieve the availability of local content, the commitment to public debate, discussion, transparency and accountability,” said Festus K. Mbandeka, Chief Executive Officer.
The Broadcasting Code contains provisions that relate to freedom of expression, protection of privacy, and children and victims of sexual abuse, from inappropriate or harmful broadcast communications. It further acknowledges the special susceptibilities (vulnerabilities) of children and will ensure that television or radio commercials do not exploit these susceptibilities.
The regulation of hate speech and regulation against inequality and discrimination are all essential for the provisions of broadcasting services in a democratic society.
The Broadcasting Code is applicable to all commercial and community broadcasting service licensees, however, it will not be applicable to the broadcasting services or to any broadcasting activities carried out by the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), as per the provisions of Section 93 of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009), until a date is determined by the Minister of Information Communication and Technology.
Upon finalisation and implementation, the Broadcasting Code makes provision for the Authority to issue a warning to the broadcasting licensee, direct such a licensee to effect a programme change within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the direction, suspend the broadcasting licence for a period determined by the Authority or withdraw the broadcasting licence. This may be done if the Authority is of the opinion that a licensee has materially breached a condition/provision of the broadcasting code and such is found in contravention of the Code.
“It is the responsibility of broadcasting service licensees to ensure that all relevant employees, including their external suppliers of content, understand and comply with the Code. In addition, the broadcasting of local content should reflect Namibian ideas, values, opinions and artistic creativity by displaying Namibian cultures and entertainment through music, dramas, series, news, soapies, documentaries current affairs, movies, films and other programmes,” added Mbandeka.