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Published on : 13 Jun, 2022

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The Commission engaged 8 broadcasting monitoring officers to monitor the compliance of broadcasting licensees to the Broadcasting Code and Guidelines in March 2022. The officers compiled a report upon completion of the project which was presented to EXCO on Monday 30 May 2022 at Mountain Inn Hotel.

These broadcasting monitors are former UNESWA students who have completed their Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with majors in broadcasting and journalism. They were tasked with monitoring all broadcasting licensees (Eswatini TV, Channel Yemaswati, EBIS (1 & 2), VOC (1 & 2), and UNESWA FM) over a one-month period and further analysing the performance of the Eswatini TV App. They were monitoring the licensees from different places including Buhleni, Kwaluseni, Mbabane, Nkwene, and Siphofaneni.

The objectives of the exercise were to;

1. Establish the extent of adherence to the Broadcasting Guidelines 2017, Broadcasting Code 2020, and program schedules by all broadcasters in the country.

2. Focus on the aspects of the Guidelines and Code that concern; Watershed, Advertising, Programme sponsorship, Local content, Accessibility to broadcasting services for the disabled, Privacy, and Copyright.

3. Identify areas where broadcasters perform poorly with the intention to recommend interventions that can be instituted to bridge the gaps between the required performance standards and the currently observed standards.

The monitors were provided with a Monitoring template where violations against the Broadcast Code were recorded and the monitoring was done daily between 6 am and 10pm. Some of the findings from the exercise include that broadcasters not following their submitted schedules, the majority of programmes including news were not accommodating people living with disabilities and the quality of material aired. The monitors also made recommendations as part of their report which includes an assessment of the DTT network coverage to identify dark pockets and convergence points that lead to signal losses and considering putting in place policies or standards or recommendations on the minimum qualifications and skills that personnel working in the broadcasting sector should have in order to ensure that broadcasters hire qualified personnel for quality service.

The Executive Team appreciated the exercise and the report which has shed light on quite a number of issues. The monitors will be engaged within the next quarter pending the finalisation of the Broadcasting Management System whose installation is near completion and will automatically do the monitoring.