On 5th January 2024 the Minister of Information, Communications, and Information Technology published the amended Regulations on Radio and Television Broadcasting Content. Below are the key highlights of the said amendments, with a view to highlighting the important regulatory and compliance requirements.
The Regulations permit a content services licensee to broadcast material suitable for adults during the broadcasting time from 00 hours to 0500 hours. The said broadcasted programs must adhere to national values, traditions, and culture.
Expression of personal views
The Regulations impose a mandatory requirement on presenters not to express their personal opinion during the programme presentation. However, a guest or analyst who is qualified for the topic under discussion may be permitted to express personal views during the programme. The audience shall be informed in advance and given an opportunity to respond to the views.
Exercising great care
The Regulations introduce a new section that prohibits a content service provider from broadcasting programmes that give information on suicide methods, the making of explosive and illicit use of drugs, give undue prominence to news and current affairs, factual or entertainment programmes to owners of broadcasting stations are likely to promote civil or public disorder, and are likely to promote prostitution and other immoral activities.
Further, a content service provider shall exercise great care when reporting incidents of torture, ill treatment of people or animals, close-ups of dead or mutilated bodies, people in extreme pain or on the point of death, or violent treatment of children.
Consent to read content of newspaper, books or article
The Regulations impose a new requirement on a content service provider to obtain the prior written consent of the owner before reading the content of newspapers, books, and articles in the course of the presentation of the program. If a content service provider intends to read newspapers, books, or articles on the course of presenting programmes, he shall read the headlines only and not otherwise.
Observance of national value, traditions and culture
The Regulations require a content service provider to take into account national values, traditions, and culture when broadcasting content related to sexual nature. Further, a content service licensee shall present sexual content in a discreet and frequent manner, broadcast or rely on any programme that depicts explicit sexual acts, or broadcast nude scenes that show the genital.
In the event a content services licensee broadcasts a programme involving sexual content, it shall be presented in a manner that observes national values, traditions, and culture.