Malawi Censorship Board has embarked on a programme to periodically review songs with suspicious moral content to protect the rights of listeners.
In a statement issued at the weekend, chief censoring officer Victor Gondwe said the board has noted with great concern the proliferation of songs that are out of tune with public morals. He said content of certain songs is below expected moral standards, values and aspirations of the nation.
“Apart from assessment of content and approval of films, the board is empowered to investigate and examine content of songs and other forms of entertainment in line with the Censorship and Control of Entertainment Act.
“The board has, therefore, embarked on a periodic review of songs which are being played, sold, produced, distributed and circulated in Malawi,” reads the statement.
Gondwe appealed to the public to make submissions of any song that is of questionable moral rating for assessment and formal decision. He said the submissions, which should give description of song and particulars of the complaint, should be made in writing through post or e-mail and phone calls.
He said: “While the board appreciates that music artists have the right to compose music of their choice, persons who may be offended by indecent messages also have the right to be protected from such materials.
“The general public is, therefore, once again requested to make submissions to the board for assessment of any song whose content is of questionable rating and has the potential of offending listeners.”
Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) president the Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango commended the board for coming up with the initiative. He, however, said the initiative might be a signal that the board has no capacity to address the proliferation of offensive songs.
“As citizens, we have an obligation to assist the board to address the problem as they try to put their house in order. As musicians, we don’t need to copy western cultures by producing offensive songs,” Mhango said. n