Taking the harm out of music


GUIDELINES to ensure proper language is used in songs is long overdue and needs to be drawn up quickly to protect both the listeners and musicians.
That task falls with the Censorship Office and is their focus this year.
The guidelines will be for the music industry to ensure composers use non-discriminatory lyrics.
Last year, the office stopped radio and television stations playing three songs by a local artist because the lyrics were deemed inappropriate to listeners, especially young people.
The Censorship Office has a role to play and that is to make sure that whatever music or video are broadcast by television and radio stations are not offensive to listeners and viewers. Others will say, everyone today is exposed to bad language and that there is no way to shield the ears and imagination of the young and vulnerable.
Pushing the boundaries for artistic expression has always been a part of popular music but it must be done within acceptable standards.
The guidelines should not be seen as a tool to penalise any musicians, but to help them become professionals in the music industry. The same benchmark should also apply in advertising.
Music hasn’t changed since the days when the Rolling Stones or Beach Boys and The Beatles dazzled the world. What has changed is that the lyrics in popular music have become more explicit.
While the effects of music on people are not fully understood, studies have shown that when you hear music to your liking, the brain actually releases a chemical that has positive effects on the listener.
People are born with the ability to tell the difference between music and noise.
Music can make one feel strong emotions – such as joy, sadness, or fear – and some will agree that it has the power to move us.
According to researchers, music may even have the power to improve our health and well-being. Although more studies are needed to confirm the potential health benefits of music, some studies suggest that listening to music can have positive effects on health.
Hip hop and other genres have received criticism for lyrics with graphic references to drugs, sex, violence and hate aimed at women, minorities, gays and lesbians.
With so much of this music within easy reach on the internet, discussions with children about explicit lyrics should start sooner, rather than later.
Parents must be mindful about the content of music and video clips that their children have in their possession, especially if it was downloaded from the internet.
Music videos are a powerful medium because they combine the energy of music with the power of visual images.
While children often don’t pay a lot of attention to the lyrics of their favourite songs, the visual images that accompany the same music on TV or the internet have a much greater impact because they are impossible to ignore.
Music videos have frequently been criticised for heavily sexualized portrayals of women.
It is important that adults talk with their children about what they find offensive – and explain why.
While the Censorship Office works on the guidelines, the primary responsibility of protecting children and young people from harmful material rests with parents and guardians.

One thought on “Taking the harm out of music

  • Censorship on explicit music content especially for local music is….Yes….overdue. Time to clamp down now. This is one way of protecting our young, People who care about the future of this nation should choose to buy only acceptable & meaningful products worth listening to.

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