Artistes conflicted over ‘Despacito’ ban

This file photo taken on April 27, 2017 shows 'Despacito' singers Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performing onstage at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Florida. — AFP pic
This file photo taken on April 27, 2017 shows 'Despacito' singers Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performing onstage at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Florida. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Two local artistes have backed the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s decision to bar Spanish-language hit Despacito from state broadcasters, while another criticised the move.

Both 1Malaysia Artist Foundation president Datuk Datuk Irwan Shah Abdullah, popularly known as DJ Dave, and Norman Abdul Halim of KRU said Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) must cease broadcasting the song in order to avoid “any sort of complications later on”.

Critics here including the Parti Amanah Negara’s women’s wing have begun demanding that the song be banned here due to the sexual nature of its Spanish lyrics.

“Of course, we don’t understand the language but because the song has gotten very famous, we want to know the meaning of the lyrics and when they do it will not reflect good for RTM for broadcasting such a song,” Norman told Malay Mail Online.

Norman, who has been in the industry for over 25 years, said there were values that must be adhered to before broadcasting anything on public channels.

“As a family man, I wouldn’t want my children listening or even watching such clips on TV, let alone on public channels,” he added.

However, he also conceded that there were other English songs and video that he considered as “obscene” and “filled with vulgarity” available on YouTube and social media sites.

“On social media, we cannot do much and as much as I respect works by artists, I believe we should live in moderation especially in a moderate country like Malaysia,” he said.

Irwan said RTM should not air the song any longer to avoid legal trouble.

He went on to say the music video of the song was not appropriate for Malaysian audiences due to its sexual overtones.

Like Norman, Irwan said many would be moved to learn the meaning of the lyrics after listening to to the song.

“If they heard the song from RTM and find out that the meaning contains obscene language, it will not look good on the channel,” he said.

The lead vocalist of the band Paperplane Pursuit, John O, criticised the decision and said there were more pressing issues to contend with than songs on the radio “which nobody understands”.

“When due process is ignored in favour of knee-jerk reactions to people playing up public sentiments whenever it suits them, every single industry stands to lose,” he said.

Last night, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said that RTM will cease broadcasting the global hit song, Despacito, on all its radio and television stations immediately.

He reportedly said the RTM evaluation panel decided to withdraw the approval to play the song after a re-evaluation.

The song by Puerto Rican singer singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee briefly dethroned Internet sensation Gangnam Style as the most-watched video on YouTube, but has since dipped to its current fifth place.

Prior to this, Amanah women’s wing, Awan, demanded that radio stations cease airing the single for alleged obscenity.