Censor and be damned? The link between violent music and violent behaviour

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Censor and be damned?
There are some good things to be said about music censorship. The trouble is that the people saying them are usually unspeakable. But every now and then there are exceptions, and recently the Home Office played a blinder by discouraging Jamaican reggae artist Sizzla from entering the UK to perform at a series of British concerts.

Editorial from Scotland on Sunday.

Sizzla is not a huge star in Britain and would still be relatively unknown were it not for Peter Tatchell and the gay rights group Outrage drawing attention to his lyrics.
According to Outrage, the reggae artist’s songs are likely to incite violence against homosexuals. Particularly in the light of Londoner David Morley being kicked to death in an alleged homophobic attack two weekends ago, this is a sensitive issue and the Home Office barred Sizzla’s entry on the grounds that his presence might provoke public disorder.

Thus the Home Office neatly sidestepped having to judge whether or not his lyrics would incite violence against homosexuals. “Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom” doesn’t leave much room for ambiguity once ‘battybwoy’ is translated as homosexual, but the government knows that to be seen to censor music, no matter how unpalatable, would be to open a can of rather nasty worms.

Editorial from Scotland on Sunday

What can you sing?
Read more about ‘Hate Music’ and the limits to musical expression

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