Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, wants musicians, parents and guardians to act more urgently in ensuring that the nation’s children are safeguarded against exposure to artistic expressions that are deemed inappropriate.
Addressing students at Campion College in St. Andrew on Thursday (March 1), as part of her weekly Youth Forum Series, Ms. Hanna said she was particularly "appalled” at the content quality of some of the artistic material currently being aired.
"What…I have a problem with is the imagery…If you saw dancehall in the 1980s, it wasn’t like dancehall now. The girls used to dance (back then). But there was not the kind of sexual overtures (between) the men and the women, and the live kinds of explicit behaviour that you now see,” she said.
Noting that the flow of information could not be restricted, the Minister contended that the dancehall, with its accompanying musical outputs, facilitated freedom of expression. She, however, lamented that “we have crossed that line”, arguing that there was a “compass” and value system that should also lead the policies developed, regarding this issue.
"Musicians have to understand, whether they want to believe it or not, (that) like any (other) person setting an example in a role,…peoples’ minds are captive. Everybody has access to information and music. You can get music over your phone, you can get it over your TV, you can get it via telecommunications, fibre optics (etc). (But) you have to have a responsibility to your culture, and you have to have a responsibility to the minds that you are trying to shape," Ms. Hanna stressed.
Additionally, she said parents and guardians are pivotal, in this regard.
"(They have) to also recognize that they have a role to play. What we have to get to is to teach our young people the kinds of values where they make appropriate decisions for themselves,” the Minister contended.
While acknowledging the Broadcasting Commission’s efforts at streamlining the quality of material aired over the electronic media, and noting that not all artistes engaged in the production of inappropriate material, Ms. Hanna cited the need for more to be done to effectively address the issue.
"Where we (Ministry) sit is (we want) to be able to sit down with the musicians to find a way…to inculcate within people, the ability to make the distinctions. Because, if there is no demand for the (inappropriate) music, there will be no supply for it,” Ms. Hanna stated.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter