The Broadcasting Commission on Friday (April 17), issued a circular requiring all Subscriber Television (STV) Licensees to implement special measures to protect against unauthorized, or unintended access to X-rated and A-rated channels by minors and other persons within households.
The Commission has confirmed reports that methods presently being utilized by some STV Operators to encrypt these channels have, sometimes, been inefficient and occasionally result in the channels being accessed by children and other unintended recipients.
Subscriber Television Licensees have been instructed to implement the following procedures:
1. A-rated channels (e.g. Dancehall) and X-rated channels (e.g. Playboy) must not be packaged with any other channels;
2. Persons must not be given X and A-rated channels automatically, but must first be instructed on how to enter a personal code to protect the content from unauthorized access by minors, or other members of the household not wishing to gain access to the content. Verifiable records should be maintained within the premises of the licensees that such instructions had been provided;
3. Only the registered owner of the main cable account should be allowed to authorize the activation of access to A-rated and X-rated channels;
4. Operators whose systems are affected by the loss of encryption to X-rated Channels, as described above, are required to conduct an investigation and address this problem forthwith.
Subscriber Television Operators are required to take the necessary steps to implement these measures immediately and are expected to complete implementation by June 1, 2009.
These measures are intended to ensure the protection of children and other persons who may gain accidental, unwanted or unauthorized access to these classifications of programming.
This latest action by the Commission follows a number of other regulatory actions in protection of minors and towards improved service delivery and quality in the broadcasting sector.