Moments after the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission issued a directive to broadcasters placing a ban on any audio or video promoting the use of guns or offensive weapons, scamming, abuse of drugs or alcohol, offensive lyrics, expletives, profanities, or anything that constitutes criminal activity, several entertainers have fired back.
Entertainer Tanya Stephens has likened the commission’s decision to madness.
“Every single time there is great pressure to curb crime or anti-social behavior some of these very same unchanging heads meet again and roll out the same archaic ban as a ‘measure,” the veteran artiste stated in a letter to the Jamaica Observer.
“If banning worked, why is there so much more music designated to be banned now?” she questioned.
She added that “critical thinking and honest conversation” is what is needed to address the issue of crime and antisocial behavior in the country.
In a social media post dancehall music producer Romeich said “we can’t stop the creatives (artistes) from singing about what they see around them or grew around”.
According to him Jamaica has one of the strictest regulations against music and asked if a ban would be placed on other platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud where the publisher has access to the same banned songs.
“There are strict regulations against anything sexual (even edited) being played on local radio because children listen to the radio… is Jamaica the only country that has children? Because the same children listen to these same songs elsewhere,” the producer added.
Meanwhile, record producer Tarik Johnston, also known as Rvssian, posted “Good thing we don’t need radio anymore. I can’t remember the last royalties they paid me. YouTube d ting deh anyway. This is crazy lol. Let’s just ask them to write the songs too.”
The Broadcasting Commission in a news release outlined its reasons for the directive.
“The use of the public airwaves to broadcast songs that promote/glorify illegal activity could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society. It could also unwittingly lend support to moral disengagement and further normalize criminality among vulnerable and impressionable youth, and the young adult demographic,” the commission contended.
The commission’s Executive Director Cordel Green says the ban was the end product of a wide-ranging process that included focused monitoring, and decoding of subculture dialect and urban slang.