The Effect of Censorship on Music Videos
Music videos represent a form of expressing an artistic message,
but many artists sometimes make a statement that is considered
to be offensive. Therefore the music video gets censored due to
these offensive messages.
The definition of offensive music videos is different from one
country to another. What is considered to be offensive in one
country could be seen as a completely normal behaviour in
another. The reason for this situation is the diversity of
cultures that have different laws and different ethics. The
label company which is usually producing the music video is
aware of this phenomenon, so videos are being edited and
distributed in a censored version and an uncensored one for a
single artist. Despite these efforts on behalf of the producers,
some videos still get banned as they are still regarded as being
too offensive to be broadcasted to the public.
The first music video to be ever banned was 'Girls on film'. It
was banned by MTV in 1981, the very year of the birth of this TV
station. This music video was considered to display too much
amount of flesh and it was also banned by BBC for reasons of
excessive nudity. Madonna had a lot of music videos that got
banned for different causes. The 'Justify my love' music video
was particularly censored for its display of homosexuality,
sadomasochism and group sex. Another Madonna music video, 'What
it feels like for a girl' was also banned by MTV because it
displayed too much violence. And Madonna was banned again years
later for the 'American Life' music video as it was considered
to send an anti-American message. The artist was forced to shoot
another video for the song.
But Madonna isn't the only artist who has ever been banned. The
'Smack my bitch up' music video by Prodigy was also banned, but
only in a few countries, as it contained images displaying drug
use and nudity. Even the music video for the hit song
'Firestarter' by Prodigy was censored by BBC as it was
considered to send a violent message for arson. The 'God save
the queen' music video for the Sex Pistols was also censored by
BBC for making an anti-royal statement.
Taking all these bans into consideration, there is no wonder
that Egypt has banned around 20 music videos for their display
of sexually-charged images!
Surprisingly, but even innocent music videos become victims of
censorships. For instance, REM's 'Losing My Religion' music
video was censored in Ireland as it was displaying images which
were considered to mock religion.
In conclusion, music videos have been banned along the years for
all sorts of reasons: religion, nudity, violence, drugs etc. One
thing needs to be said: the fact that a music video gets banned
doesn't mean it has a poor artistic value, it plainly means that
the message is inappropriate to be broadcasted on national