Is censoring music a breach of people’s right to free speech?


The report in The National that the Censorship Office is working on guidelines to ensure proper language was used in songs is alarming.
I am not denying that the lyrical content of some the songs aired on radio is a cause for concern, but think about it broadly.
Yes almost all of us Papua New Guineans are Christians but we are a democratic country first and foremost.
You cannot restrict free speech just because you don’t want to hear something. That sounds draconian in nature.
You can’t dictate what someone can or cannot say, nor can you dictate what someone can or cannot listen to. That is the beauty of democracy.
The Censorship Office managed to put off air a song they deemed to be indecent and seemed pleased with that in the report. Their reasoning was that it was “discriminatory”, in their view. Against whom I wonder.
I remember the song in question and it isn’t discriminatory to the best of my knowledge. The artists were singing about food but the underlying message was about sex. So I’m guessing the real reason they pulled it off air was because it was about sex.
Granted it’s a taboo subject but, come on. This is a democracy. We can’t all be governed by someone’s belief system, or moral principles. Besides, I think Papua New Guineans are mentally capable of deciding for themselves if something is decent or not.
It’s important to point out that I’m not supporting these musicians because of their music or the messages they bring across. I don’t like most of the locally produced music these days because all they sing about is girls and relationships.
But I am standing up for their right to free speech, and everything it implies.
Also, what is the Censorship Office going to do about songs by international artists? Many of their songs are filled with sexual connotations that would make a saint lose their sanity; and they receive frequent airplay.
Are they going to ban those music as well? Good luck with that because that will most definitely attract attention and condemnation from the international community.
I believe that the only time it is okay to shut someone up is when they’re spewing hate speech, and this most certainly isn’t.
Then you have the languages to consider. Is it Tok Pisin and English only or Motu too? We have over 800 native languages.
Do you have to wait until a lot of people complain about a particular song? What constitutes “a lot of people”? Fifty per cent of the population? 75 per cent? Your relatives? Or are you prepared to hire 800-plus people to listen to the radio for any bad songs?
Is it okay if most of the public don’t understand the lyrics? Where do you draw the line?
Ask some fundamental questions.
Like, why are these types of songs played regularly on the radio?
Why do the general public like listening to these songs?
Conduct some research first. Do a survey. Pinpoint the root of the problem, which I think is our society’s state of mind. Maybe we’ve grown decadent.
Banning certain songs just because a vocal group of people find it distasteful isn’t going to solve anything.
I suggest you look into every contingencies before you dish out your directives that might get you sued for impeding free speech.

Lux Kuti
Posin Miok

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