The High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) has received numerous complaints concerning certain audiovisual programs broadcast during the month of Ramadan 2022 by public television channels, in particular works of fiction (soap operas, sitcoms and comic series).
During a plenary meeting, dedicated to the study and deliberation of a set of plants, the Higher Council for Audiovisual Communication (CSCA) affirmed that the freedom of creation, particularly in terms of fiction, is consubstantial with the freedom of audiovisual communication, as enshrined in law 77-03 on audiovisual communication and law 11-15 reorganizing HACA.
In this regard, the HACA recalls that the writing of scenarios, the casting, the choice of the characters represented, the staging of realistic or reinterpreted situations, the narration of events and periods of History in works of fiction , are an integral part of the freedom of authors, in terms of artistic and personal approach and vision.
“Furthermore, freedom is one of the foundations of the artistic and creative value of works of fiction and, as such, can only be consecrated through its expression and manifestation at all levels of conception, treatment and realization of the work”, underlines a press release from the HACA.
The Autorité also considered that the public debate around the question of the freedom and quality of works of fiction broadcast is a positive and fruitful exercise, as it contributes to the development and promotion of quality standards in the production of works of fiction and more generally in the development and implementation of public policies in the field of media production. This debate of general interest is enriched both by expert artistic criticism and specialized journalistic criticism, and by the appreciations – positive or negative – of the different categories of the public.
Furthermore, the HACA considered that the requests addressed to the HACA, calling on it to carry out a kind of censorship or guardianship over the programmatic choices of radio and television stations, by prohibiting, suspending the broadcast or changing content, are contrary its institutional mandate as an independent regulatory body, whose primary mission is to guarantee respect for freedom of audiovisual communication and freedom of expression.
To this end, the legislator guarantees the freedom for radio and television stations, public and private, to design and broadcast their programmes. This freedom applies to programs produced internally by audiovisual operators, to programs co-produced with external service providers and to the acquisition of programs ready to broadcast.
The law limits this freedom only if it violates democratic values and human rights, such as respect for human dignity, respect for the principle of the presumption of innocence, non-incitement to racism, hatred or to violence, non-discrimination against women and respect for their dignity…
Freedom of creation is the manifestation of the anchoring and consecration of other freedoms in the public space. In addition, the evolution of the quality of works and content disseminated revolves around freedom of expression in the criticism of works of fiction and media content.
“This virtuous dynamic can however only be triggered and developed by criticism if the latter expresses itself far from any discourse of stigmatization and invective”, adds the HACA.
As a result, the independent regulation of the media aims to promote and enshrine eminently democratic principles, including freedom, pluralism and diversity which are at the top of the authority’s priorities.