New generation programmes, new work lifestyle coming — Broadcasting Commission
Clayton...there is no reversalin digital product growth, butthe space needs regulation

The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica (BCJ), in its latest annual report, says that with Jamaica about to undergo Digital Television Switch-Over, this will “open up new opportunities for local broadcasters to modernise content delivery and develop a new generation of programmes and other media products.”

The door is opening, it was indicated, to adapt and monetise content across platforms. “The global economy will eventually recover, but it will not simply revert to the prior status quo,” said BCJ Chairman Professor Anthony Clayton in the report.

The BCJ noted that under COVID-19 conditions, many organisations, having been forced to move to a more distributed model of working, have realised the potential gains in terms of cost,time, and worker engagement.

It was stated that “urban planning, building design and modes of transport are being profoundly affected; many office buildings will have to be repurposed, some car parks will become redundant, homes are being designed to include workspaces and offices.”

To support changes underway, the BCJ, supported by UNESCO, launched a project in November 2020 to establish a digital media and information literacy skills framework for Jamaica.

The outputs will include tools for assessing and eventually certifying digital literacy, and recommendations for the creation of a national digital literacy policy which will include target setting and monitoring in relation to education, training, employment, digital safety and media literacy.

The BCJ said it has consistently drawn attention to the speed with which media, communications, finance and banking, trade, business and commerce, the relationship between government and citizens, the nature of work, education and training and social interactions were being transformed by digitisation.

Clayton said in his commentary, “The dissolution of boundaries and the extraordinary speed of digital transactions were not just improving efficiency; they were opening the way to radically new social, economic and business models, new modes of government and changing patterns of human behaviour.

“We [have] emphasised the urgent need for Jamaica to accelerate out of the slow lane of these fast-moving events, as an efficient digital economy is now a primary determinant of the ability to compete internationally.”

The BCJ head said the body also remained concerned about “the extraordinarily rapid growth of cybercrime, the penetration of social media by criminal and terrorist networks, and the increasingly effective use of disinformation and fake news to influence elections and undermine democracy.”

The conclusion, Clayton said, is that “ social media should be regulated on essentially the same principles as broadcast media in future, with specific additional guarantees of freedom of expression and protection for personal data.”

This, he said, will require “a new model of media and communications regulation in order to manage a far more converged environment, in which the boundaries between media, education, entertainment and telecommunications will largely disappear.”

Also related to this theme, the BCJ spearheaded the Caribbean AI Initiative, which is a collaborative project with the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, developing a Caribbean AI road map.

He concluded, “This has been one of the most turbulent years in history. The BCJ has had to address serious concerns about the viability of the media and communications industry in Jamaica, but,” he added, “We remain focused on our core mission; to ensure a successful national transition to a digital economy, using the empowering and liberating potential of technological innovation to encourage new forms of business, social, cultural and media development.”

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