Letters — 25 October 2013 — by Zelda Hill

October 23, 2013

Dear Editor,

I wrote the Belize Broadcasting Authority (BBA) concerning the inappropriate and provocative Belikin calendar-launching ad that is being run on most of our local TV stations during the news and perhaps at other times of the day since last week. If other Belizeans would like to officially protest the running of this ad, which will probably cease by this Friday (the day of the event), or to report future inappropriate ads and programming, the email address of the BBA is [email protected]

I would like to further express my concern through this medium in regard to the escalating instances of violations to clause 17 of the terms and conditions of the Broadcasters’ licenses. The Belize Broadcasting and Television Act Chapter 227, Revised Edition 2000, gives the BBA the authority to determine and ensure that the services, operations and programs of radio and television stations are in compliance with the terms and conditions of their licenses and that they are considered appropriate by the BBA. We need more monitoring of the media by the BBA, for the protection of our children from vulgar and offensive messages that are being broadcasted by radio and television through local and foreign programming, especially through ads that are promoting alcohol.

What also amazed me this week with the Belikin calendar launch ad was the silence of organizations whose objectives seem to include the protection of our children and families, such as the Council of Churches, the Evangelical Association, the Special Envoy for Women and Children, the Women’s Commission, WIN Belize, the BNTU, NOPCAN, UNICEF etc. Do they not agree that these types of sexually-loaded messages [often accompanied by rude lyrics] are “soft” pornography, which is stimulating to sexual predators and harmful to our children? Why couldn’t the local media refuse the advertising bucks from Bowen and Bowen and think about the harm these ads will cause to children?
Do Belizeans even realize that through our silence we are endorsing devious agendas to corrupt our precious Belizean children and turn them into male and female prostitutes at the pleasure of depraved tourists who are paying big dollars to pervert the laws of poor countries in their search for child-sex havens?

A few months ago, a statement in the Revised Gender Policy 2013 originally calling for the amendment to existing legislation to legalize and regulate the sex work industry, was retracted. However, on page thirty-five of the current RGP it still states that “because of poverty, human trafficking and the increased cost of living, addressing this issue (of prostitution) will require a complete re-thinking of how best to either legally recognize and regulate sex work and/or create viable economic alternatives for sex workers.” Is it the goal to influence our Belizean daughters to dress and behave like prostitutes so that later on they can pursue a “career” in sex work?

Furthermore, it worries me that our local media houses seem to be drawing back the boundaries of decency daily, especially when they broadcast alcohol ads and those for concerts featuring Caribbean entertainers. The proposed “family” show KTV has now become a stage for rude and sexually inappropriate performances and many of the songs that are broadcasted by certain radio stations contain vulgar, sexually-suggestive and sexually-explicit lyrics. Our cable TV providers show indecent programs and movies at any time of the day. On one occasion, while changing channels, I was mentally assaulted by images of the homosexual rape of a young boy and it was not even 8 p.m.!

Recently, while watching the Pan Yaad event, I heard a foreign entertainer suggest to the audience that they could take off their underclothes and wave them. Then after his indecent proposal he cautioned the children in the audience saying that his request was not directed to them but to the adults. In my “worldly” ignorance and naivete I expected the station to end their broadcast immediately but they proceeded oblivious to the depravity of the entertainer’s remarks.

After this week of complaints that were sent to the BBA, I trust that they will do stricter monitoring of all broadcasting. If they are reluctant to act, I propose that all Belizean stakeholders in our children’s safety and those that endorse family values unite to strategically take hold of the censorship of the media. We must protect our children and youth from erroneous and injurious messages and sanitize our communication and entertainment to make it educating, uplifting and wholesome and not degrading, confusing and misleading. Belize’s future depends on those who not just talk but show that they care about our children.

Zelda Hill
cc: Chairman, BBA

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