The National Communications Commission (NCC) established the Broadcasting Content Complaints website for citizens and interest groups to submit opinions and suggestions on policies for broadcasting supervision and report broadcasting content for any potential regulatory violations. The website provides a means for different voices of society to be heard and encourages participation of citizen interest groups, as well as the general public. Consequently, NCC publishes both quarterly and annual broadcasting oversight reports, thereby increasing the extent to which broadcasting content can be monitored.
Data from the most recent report, 2021 NCC Report on Broadcasting Supervision, shows that 1,900 public complaints were filed against television and radio in 2021, with complaints against television content accounting for 1,689 cases, while the remaining 211 pertained to radio; this is a reduction of 822 cases when compared with the previous year.
The report also indicates that during the calendar year 2021, the majority of complaints were pertaining to false or biased content (399 cases/21.00%), followed by comments on the overall broadcasting environment (390 cases/20.53%), disrupting public order or adversely affecting good social customs (269 cases/14.16%), lack of distinction between programs and commercials (182 cases/ 9.58%), and commercial violations (including broadcasting time, length, time limit excess, and content) (141 cases/7.42%). These five most common categories of complaints account for 72.69% of the total number of complaints received.
Upon closer observation of recent annual reports, we can note that public complaints regarding “false or biased content” have been the most common type of complaint over the previous four consecutive years: 541 (22.9% of all complaints received that year) in 2018, 1,078 (34.4%) in 2019, 439 in 2020 (16.1%) , and 399 in 2021(21.0%). In response to public concerns regarding such content, the NCC amended the Satellite Broadcasting Act in 2016 to include regulations on fact verification and principles of fairness. In addition, since March 2019, NCC has been closely monitoring broadcast content on news channels and has published periodic oversight reports. It can be noted that since the publication of such reports began, news channels have made significant improvements to their standards of journalism and news reporting, ensuring that a diverse range of opinions are available to the audience at large.
Statistics included in these reports detail the number of public complaints and the amount of feedback submitted by the public in regard to television and radio media. They should not, however, be interpreted as evidence that broadcasting operators were in violation of the law. In the event of actual violations of the law, besides issuing penalties in accordance with applicable regulations, the NCC takes administrative action using a multi-pronged approach to warn operators to take heed of complaints and make improvements accordingly. Through these combined measures and actions, the NCC safeguards audience’s rights, ensures a more wholesome media environment, and protects the credibility of radio and television.
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