TATT Warns Broadcasters about Violence in Music

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By Prior Beharry

THE Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has written all broadcasters under its remit about playing songs that promote violent behaviour like murder and rape.

This was revealed by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TATT Cynthia Reddock-Downes in an interview with AZP News on Wednesday.


She said the letter about broadcasting of inappropriate music content was sent to the approximately 37 radio stations and three free-to-air television stations under the remit of TATT.

However, Reddock-Downes stressed that TATT has had no reports of any broadcaster in breach of the Telecommunication Act regarding such music.

She noted that the letter was not about any particular genre. 


Reddock-Downes said, “The authority has some responsibility with regard to content and we thought that if we did this letter, it would be within our remit to do so.”

She said, “We found there were increasing concerns certainly from members of the public on social media and otherwise about the content of songs and whether they may in fact be influencing what is happening in society right now.”

Reddock-Downes added, “Not that we are recognising that our broadcasters actually play these music, but in event that they may be playing the music we are cautioning them about not playing this kind of music. 

“So it (the letter) specifically said that we noticed proliferation of songs with lyrics, that promotes violence and violent behaviour against some individuals including murder, rape and gang violence and glorify using drugs and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

“We haven’t identified a particular genre but any music that contains that kind of content and most people will refer to a particular type of music in Trinidad and Tobago. But once it has that type of content, we are also concerned about its negative impact on children and young persons and impressionable or vulnerable persons in society.” 


Asked what were the sanctions for a breach, Reddock-Downes said that TATT could suspend the concession or terminate it if it was serious enough.

And is TATT monitoring? Reddock-Downes said, “Yes, we do some proactive monitoring and we have monitors that we have hired to do some of the monitoring for us, not just songs, but particularly other content. 

“And we also respond to the public, so if the public particularly have heard these songs or any other content of that nature then they can let us know just letting us know the date and time and the station which it was broadcast.

Recently, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addressed the issue of explicit and potentially harmful lyrics in music, urging artists to take responsibility for the impact of their creations on society.

He made the comment at a press conference at the Piarco International Airport last week Wednesday after attending the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Guyana.

He said, “I think the general consensus is that art, including music, has an effect on the human form and the human condition. And if the expression of that art, that music, is one that promotes and glorifies negatives in the form of violence, then clearly, it ought to be condemned.”

At the CARICOM conference, Guyana President Dr Irfaan Ali’s said that lyrics that glorify violence and criminality, particularly concerning their influence on the youth, do not have a place in Caribbean society.



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