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Denmark: Calling to cancel Jamaican reggae star concert

26 July 2006


The Jamaican Reggae singer Buju Banton was met with demonstrations and callings to cancel his concert when he played at The Rock in Copenhagen on July 11, 2006


Representatives of the gay and lesbian community in Denmark demanded the concert cancelled and arranged demonstrations against Buju Banton who is known for his lyrics against homosexuality.

Representatives of the concert hall The Rock met with representatives of the gay and lesbian community before the concert. The organisers refused to cancel the event. However they said that Buju Banton was informed that if he played some of his controversial songs, the concert would be stopped.


Buju Banton’s concert at The Rock was part of an international tour which also included a stop-over in Brighton, UK. According to an article in the Danish newspaper Fyens Stiftstidende the Brighton concert was cancelled due to interference from the local police and politicians. In 2004, Brighton was the first UK city to demand that music retailers ban reggae and rap albums with “anti-gay” lyrics.

 

 
Buju Banton – some of his lyrics are overtly against homosexuality
 

Not everything is allowed

As a point of departure, no censorship can be imposed or subsequent legal steps be taken against musicians because of what they express in their music. The European Court of Human Rights has interpreted artistic freedom of expression in a broad way. In a judgement from 1988 the Court observed, that “Those who create, perform, distribute or exhibit works of art contribute to the exchange of ideas and opinions which is essential for a democratic society. Hence the obligation on the State not to encroach unduly on their freedom of expression”.

However, there are exceptions, e.g.:

• Propaganda for war is always unlawful, as is advocacy for national, racial or religious hatred.
• States may also limit freedom of expression if it is necessary for a certain number of other reasons:
• Respect of the reputations of others (defamation),
• Protection of national security, public order, or of public health or morals.

In any case such limitations must be prescribed in a national law.

 
Sources (in Danish):

Fyens Stifttidende – 8 July 2006:
Demonstration mod homofobisk reggaekoncert

TV2 Lorry – 6 July 2006:
Kontroversiel koncert v
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