Following Lisa Hanna’s recent suggestion to ban incarcerated superstar Vybz Kartel from local airwaves, Prime Minister Andrew has responded saying that his Government will not give in to any public urge for censorship as a response to controversial cultural activities, including Dancehall music.
Mr. Holness is precise in his assertion that education is the best way to go, so the consuming public can demand the kinds of music that will positively impact the country’s youths.
The Prime Minister opposes to Hanna’s proposition, saying that censoring the arts of music would destroy creativity.
Mr. Holness says Jamaica has a liberal democracy and not a society that believes in censorship; his suggestion is that education would be the best response to public alarm regarding anything that may be considered offensive.
“My point is, how do we create consumers who are more discerning of the products that are being produced. Because, once you start to censor you kill creativity,” Holness told media reporters on Friday, Feb 24.
“We have a liberal democracy’, we can’t escape that. And the society is not one that brooks any argument about censorship. We are not a society that holds heavily to censorship. The way to combat that, however, is that while we don’t like censorship, that shouldn’t mean that we allow everything to get in the public space. So the important thing that a society that is a liberal democracy must develop, if it is not going to censor, is to develop literacy and education,” Mr. Holness added.
“In other words, you combat negative information with positive information. So the challenge we have is that a lot of people are absorbing, within the public space, much of the artistic creativity but without the context as to how this creativity can lead to the realization of a certain reality,” Mr Holness said.
“In other societies, you go and you watch the movies and it is not just dancehall, it’s just general. You have hip hop, you have rap music; we are just bombarded with things that have different moral perspectives. But, if you have a well-educated society that can place these things in context,and say this is art, this is from one’s own belief, it’s not what I necessarily believe, or I know that what this person is saying is wrong, then your society can survive that. But, if you have a high level of illiteracy or unreasonableness in the society, and people literally take what is being produced, not just as artistic content, but take it literally as their theme or anthem, then you begin to have a problem. So, the solution to Jamaica is not censorship, the solution is to increase our education; our teaching has to place things in context,” Mr. Holness added.
The Prime Minister was responding to the current controversy over comments made by Opposition spokesperson and former Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna, on the radio about banning Vybz Kartel’s music and the artist recording from his prison cell.
Lisa Hanna, who was addressing issues of violence and culture last week Tuesday (Feb. 21) on a local radio station, stated that despite being sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, Kartel seemed to have continued recording his music from behind bars, which some Jamaicans consider unfit for public consumption. The politician suggested that the deejay’s music should be banned from radio airwaves.
Jamaican Dancehall star Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. The “Worl Boss” deejay is serving 35 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole.