The Broadcasting Commission reminds all broadcasters and members of the public of the requirements for political broadcasts, as set out in the Broadcasting and Radio Re-Diffusion Act ("ACT"), the Television and Sound Broadcasting Regulations ("Regulations") and the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2016 ("ROPA"):
- In the spirit of fair treatment, any financial concessions for air-time to the advantage of any political party or candidate must also be offered to other parties or candidates who may be prejudiced by the material transmitted – Section 21(2) of the Act.
- All political broadcasts, including advertisements, must incorporate opening and closing tags identifying the sponsor or political party affiliated with the broadcast – Regulation 12(1)(a).
- All television, radio and cable operators as well as newspapers will cease transmission or publication of political broadcasts (including political advertisements) 24 hours before the start of voting on Election Day. Similarly, no results of any new opinion polls or surveys are to be released within 48 hours of the start of voting – Section 81(A) (1) of ROPA.
It must be noted that licensees are also required to ensure that broadcasts:
- are not abusive or derogatory of anyone’s race, colour, creed, religion or sex – Regulation 30(b);
- are not libelous – Regulation 30(c);
- do not contain any false or misleading information – Regulation 30(e);
- do not contain any material which is likely to incite violence, criminal activity or any public disorder – Regulation 30(j);
- do not include any portrayal of violence that offends against good taste, decency or public morality – Regulation 30(k).
Complaints about alleged breaches must be made to the Broadcasting Commission at the earliest opportunity. The Broadcasting Commission would need the following information to proceed with an investigation:
- Name of broadcast or cable service that transmitted the material;
- Date and time at which the broadcast was aired;
- Name of the programme in which the broadcast was aired;
- Details of the content being complained about.