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Censorship in the Music Industry Essay

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Censorship in the Music Industry


Censorship in the music industry can be divided into two categories involving new music technology and music products. In the United States, the issue of censorship doesn’t necessarily concern music products but rather new music technology. The music industry has become increasingly concerned with the online peer-to-peer services like Kazaa and Morpheus using the MP3 format or motion pictures expert group which allows users to download music free and fast (Cloonan, 2003). In almost every other part of the world, music is censored someway or another usually by a country’s government, religious leaders, or individual broadcasters who are financed by their government (Cloonan, 2003). For example, the Middle East and North Africa region had the highest number of censorship incidents with 54 reports from 1980-1999 (Cloonan, 2003). The highest rated country was Turkey with 23 reports followed by the United States with 18 from 1980-1999 (Cloonan, 2003). During this period of time, the Turkish government succeeded at suppressing the language and culture of the Kurdish people involving the forbidden sale of cassettes by a Kurdish artist named Yzan Cugdis for being “against law and order” and the arrest of Ahmet Kaya for causing “political incidents” during one of his performances (Cloonan, 2003).
In some countries, being fans of certain types of music can be reason for arrest or enforcement of a state ban. In 1996, Iran officials arrested 28 teenagers for possessing “obscene”CDs and cassettes and in 1988, two men of Albanian ethnic origin were arrested by Serbian police for possessing cassettes of Albanian music (Cloonan, 2003). Certain countries have even taken the step to completely...


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...s or sexual content.

Music censorship is still a heavily debated topic around the world. I believe in the areas of the world where censorship does take place, censorship isn’t enforced to protect citizens from the dangers of influential music but rather to maintain political control in these countries and also psychological control of its citizens. Is censorship really necessary? Do government authorities and religious leaders need to have this responsibility to censor music with supposedly good intent? And if so, what is the real purpose for censorship?

Book:

Cloonan, M and Reebee G, Ed; (2003). Policing Pop. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Online/Web Site:
Index Online (2003). Report: Morocco: Judge jails Moroccan heavy metal fans. March 7.
Available online: http://www.indexonline.org/indexindex/20030307_morocco.html (accessed March 7, 2003)


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