The controversy surrounding Nermal “Massive” Gosein’s “Rowlee Mudda Count” deepened yesterday after the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) deemed the song derogatory to women and urged the Publishers and Broadcasters Association (TTPBA), in an unprecedented development, to avoid breaching its concession by broadcasting the song on the radio airwaves.
In a two-page letter to TTPBA president Daren Lee Sing, dated December 29, TATT chairman Dr John Prince said the song contained lyrics which may prove denigrating to women. Prince said the authority is of the view the statements in the song, “can prove to be inappropriate and derogatory to mother figures who place an important role in the enrichment and development of society.
“We are therefore urging you,” he went on, “in the interest of ethical and moral standards, that you pay due regard to the obligations of your concession and the conditions within the Draft Broadcasting Code and take the appropriate action. “We are, therefore, asking that you co-operate with us and hope that you will treat this matter with the due care and attention that is required in the circumstances.”
Prince said Clause D9 of the concession granted to broadcasters states, in part, that the concessionaire “shall not transmit any programme, information or other material which degrades or portrays in a negative manner or discriminates against or encourages discrimination against any person or group by reason of race, origin, class, religion or sex.”
PLAY AT OWN RISK
Asked by Newsday if the TATT was calling on radio stations to ban the song outright, Prince said: “I am not saying they can’t play it, but they will play it at their risk and peril, at their risk of breaching their concessions. “I cannot tell them to ban it. What I can tell them is that if they play it, they will be in breach of their concessions. That is all I am saying.”
Prince said TATT had never previously taken this type of action with respect to calypso. “This is something that I have seen and I am taking that action.” Contacted by Newsday, the TTPBA’s Lee Sing would only say: “We are trying to address the matter accordingly.” Gosein meanwhile, said TATT’s decision was tantamount to a dictatorship that is being influenced by the Rowley-led PNM administration.
“The unprecedented and historic move by the Telecommunications Authority to threaten broadcasters to ensure they do not play my song shows that we (are) on the road to (a) dictatorship,” he said in a statement. Gosein added, “The reference to the potential denigration of women as justification for this ban is ironic as no one has been more guilty of such denigration than Dr Keith Rowley of, ‘kyat’, ‘jammetry’, ‘nipple’, and ‘grooming’ fame.”
WHAT ABOUT ROWLEY?
The veteran chutney singer called on TATT to issue a similar warning to broadcasters against covering speeches by Dr Rowley. “Dr Rowley and the PNM are using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut and in so doing, are exposing their bias and dictatorial tendencies,” Gosein said.
“TATT has never seen it fit to ban dancehall, dub and rap music from the likes of Vybez Cartel, Lady Saw, Movado and Drake whose sexually explicit songs promote violence and reduce women and mothers to sex objects. Likewise, there was no move to ban other calypsoes that used double entendre and sexual innuendo.”
Gosein also accused the PNM of being in control of TATT and using it to further its narrow political agenda. “They will only succeed in making my song more popular as it is now constantly shared via what’s app and on social media and played by the ordinary man.” Gosein claimed he has moved from 3,756 views before “their attack” to almost 100,000 views on YouTube. “The more they try to oppress this song, the more it will become the people’s anthem.”
ALOES: IT GETTING OUT OF HAND
Contacted yesterday, calypsonian and manager of the Revue calypso tent Michael “Sugar Aloes” Osuna said he had not heard about the TATT development.
“I think this getting too out of hand now. That should have died a natural death a long time ago,” he said. “It making a big hullabaloo out of nothing. All for nothing. They could have just left that to die a natural death.”
Osuna predicted the development will set a new precedent in the industry. President of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation Lutalo Masimba said he had not seen TATT’s letter to the TTPBA and hence did not wish to comment publicly.