AP

Jamaica bans broadcasts deemed to glorify drugs, crime

Oct 12, 2022, 1:59 AM | Updated: 2:00 pm

HAVANA (AP) — Jamaica’s broadcasting regulator has banned music and TV broadcasts deemed to glorify or promote criminal activity, violence, drug use, scamming and weapons.

The government said the ban is meant to cut back on material that “could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society.”

Jamaican artists criticized the measure, saying it cuts populations affected by heightened gun violence out of the conversation, and that it will do little to stop crime.

“Art imitates life, and the music is coming from what is happening in Jamaica for real,” said Stephen McGregor, a Jamaican Grammy Award-winning music producer and singer. “But because it doesn’t fit the moral mold of what they would like it to look like, they try to hamper it.”

The ban comes after years of struggle by the Caribbean nation to halt high levels of gun violence, which caused Jamaica to have the highest murder rate in Latin America and the Caribbean last year, according to research center Insight Crime.

The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica said in a release that such music or video on public broadcasts “normalize criminality among vulnerable and impressionable youth.”

The directive also said that channels should avoid “urban slang” that has anything to do with making money, wire transfers, acquiring wealth or a lavish lifestyle. It cited specific words like: “jungle justice,” “bank/foreign account,” “food,” “wallet,” “purse,” “burner phone” and “client.”

But artists like McGregor, known by his artist name Di GENIUS, said he viewed the ban as a free speech issue, and that the Jamaican government would be better served addressing root causes of violence like the pandemic-fueled economic crisis.

The broadcasting commission declined to respond to AP’s request for comment on criticisms, and did not immediately detail the consequences of a violation. But the commission asked the public to report any alleged violators.

Jamaica has implemented such bans previously, including one in 2009. McGregor, 32, said his own music has been banned from airwaves throughout his career for making mentions of sex and guns, but said restrictions never really lasted.

Other Jamaican artists such as Rvssian, NotNice, and Romeich have all come out on social media slamming the directive.

Many made mention that such a measure would have little practical effect on violence, especially because youth get their media from streaming platforms like Spotify or YouTube.

Rather, McGregor said, it’s a way to scapegoat artists for larger state failures to address endemic problems and discontent.

“The music that comes from that, people are not going to be creating happy, feel good ‘one love, one heart’ music in those circumstances,” McGregor said. “You can’t force the creatives to paint a picture that’s not really in front of us.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

4 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

5 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

6 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

6 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

7 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

8 days ago

Jamaica bans broadcasts deemed to glorify drugs, crime