Jamaica’s broadcasting regulator has banned music and TV broadcasts deemed to glorify or promote criminal activity, violence, drug use, scamming and weapons.
The government has said the ban is meant to cut back on material that “could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society”.
Some Jamaican artists criticised the measure saying it will do little to stop crime and will cut out of the conversation populations affected by heightened gun violence.
“Art imitates life, and the music is coming from what is happening in Jamaica for real,” said Stephen McGregor, a Jamaican Grammy award-winning music producer and singer. “But because it doesn’t fit the moral mould of what they would like it to look like, they try to hamper it.”
The ban comes after efforts by authorities in the Caribbean nation to halt high levels of gun violence. Jamaica had the highest murder rate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, according to research centre Insight Crime.
The Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica said that such music or video on public broadcasts “normalise criminality among vulnerable and impressionable youth.”
The directive also said that channels should avoid “urban slang” that has anything to do with making money, wire transfers, acquiring wealth or a lavish lifestyle. It cited specific words and phrases like: “jungle justice”, “bank/foreign account”, “food”, “wallet”, “purse”, “burner phone” and “client”.