Crackdown on 'bad wud' music - Police ready for intended changes to law

October 02, 2017
Selector Chris Dymond of Code Red sound system.
Senior Superintendent of Police Steve McGregor.

Entertainers who curse during performances are being warned that more attention will be paid to profane or obscene language used by entertainers, including selectors at sessions.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Steve McGregor said changes are currently being made to the Towns and Communities Act, which is the law used by the police to prosecute people who use 'bad words'.

“The present Town and Communities Act may include a few antiquated guidelines, but the new Service Act will be updated, fitting a modernised country,” said McGregor.

Under the current law, which was first passed in 1843, persons convicted of using profane, indecent or obscene language publicly can be fined up to $1,500 or imprisoned for up to one month.

Event permits contain a clause that states "any person who sings any profane or obscene song or ballad or use any profane, indecent language publicly is liable to prosecution". 

As work takes place to create a new law to deal with things such as 'bad words', selector Chris Dymond, from Code Red Sound feels the current law is not always helpful.

“In clashes, selectors should not be barred or, even so, should not be charged with a little bad word because it is part of the sound system culture, part of our country’s culture,” Dymond said.

During the past summer, Dymond participated in an international clash in Atlanta, hosted by Red Bull, and was impressed that the clash was not filtered and the public accepted it as the norm.

“When we (disc jockeys) have to build dub plate and pay up to US$1,000 for a dub in our country, promoters of the events end up having to restrict us or call us out due to these regulations and it not cheap to edit or get a clean version as well,” said Dymond.

“I agree with the law 50/50. If it sounds boisterous and the entertainer or selector is repeatedly using profanity, but I don’t think persons to be penalised unless it sounds excessively raw,” said Dymond.

However, McGregor made it clear that, "we have no control of the use of indecent language in the music, but where it is used abusively during live performances it is not acceptable coming either from the performer or from the person playing it loudly".

“Police officers have been vigilant with this, but it is from the social side that we have issues. What is sad is that the patrons at events come down on police for prosecuting entertainers for the wanton use of bad words. And because of how easily the public accept these breaches, it has not been an easy task for lawmen to enforce these laws,” said McGregor.

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