Broadcasting Commission recommends $15M payola fine

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The Broadcasting Commission is recommending that a range of fines, with a maximum $15 million, on persons found guilty of engaging in the illicit practice of payola.

Payola is defined as the practice of paying bribes, particularly to radio personalities, for airplay to the recordings of unknown artistes, as a means of giving them exposure.

These recordings often include songs deemed inappropriate for airplay.

Professor Hopeton Dunn, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, who was speaking at the monthly meeting of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (June 21), said imposition of the fines was among several recommendations the Commission made to the government, for enactment into law.

The other significant recommendation, he said, was updating the regulations governing the broadcast media, to give the Commission the power to impose the fines.

According to Dr. Dunn, this was, "something which we do not now have, and which would provide a kind of intermediary step, in terms of how we actually regulate the industry".

Professor Dunn said the information forthcoming to the Broadcasting Commission indicated that persons are paying or taking bribes amounting to as much as $350,000 to have their music played.

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