The Board of the Barbados Broadcasting Authority (BBA), national regulator for radio and television broadcasting on the island, recently held separate meetings with executives of three key stakeholder groups. They were the traditional broadcast media, digital networks and the Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated (COSCAP).
These meetings were in keeping with the BBA’s policy of regular engagement with key stakeholder groups, as the BBA moves to modernize the local broadcasting industry to reflect changes at an international level.
In addition, to advance this objective, the BBA recently assembled a voluntary pool of progressive thinkers drawn from the fields of media, telecommunications and technology to serve as a think-tank to generate new ideas and offer advice.
Meeting with traditional broadcast media executives for the second time in five months, the Board provided further updates on the rebranding of the BBA, steps towards revamping and modernizing the Broadcasting Act and related regulations to bring them in line with the 21st Century broadcasting environment. Since the 1990s, this environment has been fundamentally reshaped by technological and other changes.
Similarly, the digital network executives were apprised of proposed changes to the Broadcasting Act and Regulations to reflect, among other things, the convergence that has taken place between telecommunications and the media arising from technological advancements.
As this development has opened up opportunities for new entities to engage in broadcasting online, the BBA is seeking to ensure that a level playing field exists within the industry.
Chairman of the Board, Dr. Allyson Leacock, encouraged the digital networks to form an association and offer feedback for consideration in relation to the revised Broadcasting Act.
In a presentation to the BBA’s Board in March, COSCAP’s CEO, Erica Smith, outlined the role of COSCAP in relation to broadcasting and broadcast rights.
Making a case for policies to harmonize the industry at the regional level, Ms. Smith cited an urgent need to develop a Caribbean digital market, but said this requires a clear policy which is culturally relevant.
Dr. Leacock sees the BBA’s collaboration with COSCAP as an integral part of revamping the broadcasting industry in Barbados. She said the BBA is looking to inject new creative energy into the industry with the aim of giving consumers more exciting choices for their listening and viewing needs.
In addition, the Chairman pointed out: “The BBA of the future must see part of its critical role as building awareness and educating Barbadians to enhance their digital literacy and become well informed digital citizens.”
Another objective of the BBA is to encourage the raising of broadcasting standards on par with what exists at the global level. “Because of their exposure to international media offerings, it is clear that the sophisticated Barbadian consumer is looking for better products from the local broadcasting industry,” Dr. Leacock said.
“We believe that this will require us to seriously revisit the quality of our training institutions to ensure input is at the zenith in order to produce graduates who can compete at a global level. This can be a truly exciting time for the industry with the adoption of innovative approaches to meet these needs,” she added.
The BBA also used the opportunity to update stakeholders on the examination of license fees and the issuance of broadcast licenses, both of which are currently being reviewed.
Barbados Broadcasting Authority