Brighton first city to outlaw “hate music”
The British seaside town Brighton has become the first place in the UK to ban music that “incites hatred towards minorites”. The new rule could stop some hip hop and reggae acts from putting on gigs in the city.
Music which encourages violence towards minority groups has been banned in Brighton and Hove in the first move of its kind in the United Kingdom. Proposals to outlaw so-called ‘murder music’ in venues, pubs and clubs have been agreed by the Brighton and Hove City Council as part of a review of the city’s licensing policy. The ban has been endorsed by two committees and is set to be approved by the full council on 13 December 2007.
In 2006, the concert hall Concorde 2 in Brighton cancelled a gig with the Jamaican artist Buju Banton after the council had threatened to withdraw Concorde 2’s licence.
“Brighton and Hove is regarded as the gay capital of England. We decided we should take a stand against the record stores,” said Brighton councillor Simon Williams in an interview earlier this year. “Whilst freedom of expression is valid in most cases, it ceases to be valid when you are talking about incitement to murder people.”
The Brighton councillors also want music retailers HMV, Virgin Megastore and MVC to stop selling albums with homophobic lyrics in its Brighton and Hove branches.
“We do not condone such lyrics, but customers should be able to make their own choices,” sounded an initial reaction from an HMV spokesman at the time when the ‘murder music’ ban was first proposed.
A document outlines that the measures have been introduced to improve well-being and safety of all the communities in the city on the south coast of England. It reads:
Councillor Dee Simson, head of licensing, said: “In Brighton and Hove we have a good record on equalities and we felt it was important was important to include this in the licensing policy. We do not want music that incites racial or homophobic hatred.”
Inspector Bill Whitehead, head of licensing for Brighton and Hove, welcomed the move but said it would have to be carefully balanced with free speech. He is quoted by the Argus newspaper as saying: “It is not our job to censor but people do need to recognise the law and stay within its bounds. Whilst I recognise and support what the council want to put in place we need to be careful to ensure people’s right to free speech is not curtailed.”
Click on the link below to read the many comments, or take part in the debate yourself.
“I agree its not right to abuse any minority, BUT dont you think its scary if people start actaully banning things? Why not just boycott the artist or venue or have your say peacefully? Its not this particular news article that worries me, its where it will end!!!”
‘mr smith’ writes:
BBC Radio 1 – 5 December 2007:
See video report
|Related reading on freemuse.org|